METROFOCUS: JULY 11, 2019

July 12, 2019 at 5:30 am

After an arrest and investigation, the city is vowing to further crack down on predatory taxi medallion brokers and debt collectors who aim to shake down drivers. New York Times investigative reporter Brian Rosenthal recently joined us to discuss the situation that led some to take their own lives. The cannabis-based product is all the rage for those seeking alternative health treatments without the high pot delivers. Will an upcoming Food and Drug Administration hearing put an end to its availability? Roe v. Wade and the future of a woman’s right to choose may soon be on the SCOTUS docket. ABC Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Dan Abrams will join us with analysis and next steps.

Aired on May 30 & July 11, 2019. 

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>>> TONIGHT ON "METROFOCUS,"
TAXI CAB SUICIDES AND BROKEN
DREAMS.
FIND OUT HOW SCORES OF DRIVERS
WERE CONNED INTO RECKLESS LOANS
THAT COST THEM THEIR SHOT AT THE
AMERICAN DREAM.
>>> CBD, THE CANNABIS BASED
PRODUCT IS ALL THE RAGE FOR
THOSE SEEKING ALTERNATIVE HEALTH
TREATMENTS OUT THE HIGH THAT POT
DELIVERS.
WILL AN FDA HEARING BE A BOON OR
A BUST FOR THE FAST SELLING
ELIXIR THAT SOME CALL A WONDER
CURE.
>>> AND THE SUPREME COURT GETS
READY FOR A POTENTIAL SUPREME
SHOWDOWN.
WHAT MAY SOON BE ON THE
DOCUMENT, ROE VERSUS WADE AND
THE FUTURE OF WOMEN'S
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHT TO CHOOSE.
DAN ABRAMS IS BACK WITH A REVIEW
OF THE BENCH AND WHAT LAYS
AHEAD.
>>> THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS
"METROFOCUS" STARTS RIGHT NOW.
§
>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS."
WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD
AND JENNA FLANAGAN.
"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY --
>>> DROWNING IN DEBT AND SOME
EVEN DRIVEN TO SUICIDE.
UNTIL RECENTLY DRIVING A CAB IN
NEW YORK CITY WAS VIEWED AS A
GATEWAY TO THE MIDDLE CLASS
ESPECIALLY IF DRIVERS COULD GET
THEIR HANDS ON A COVETED
MEDALLION.
BUT DRIVERS TOOK OUT LOANS MANY
OF THEM COULD NOT AFFORD.
WHEN UBER AND LYFT TOOK OVER THE
STREETS, THEIR VALUE PLUMMETED,
DRIVING SOME TO FINANCIAL RUIN
AND SOME EVEN TO SUICIDE.
NOW A "NEW YORK TIMES"
INVESTIGATION REVEALS THE REASON
FOR THIS MEDALLION MELTDOWN, A
MASSIVE LENDING SCAM DATING BACK
DECADES, ALSO ALLEGING
CORRUPTION AMONG CITY, STATE AND
FEDERAL AGENCIES MEANT TO
ENFORCE FINANCIAL LAWS.
JOINING US NOW IS THE REPORTER
WHO BROKE THE STORY BRIAN
ROSENTHAL.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> IT WAS A VERY REVEALING
REPORT THAT YOU ALL DID AND AN
EXTRAORDINARILY IN-DEPTH REPORT.
LET ME START BY PROVIDING SOME
CONTEXT FOR SOME OF OUR VIEWERS.
WE TALK ABOUT MEDALLIONS.
WHAT ARE THESE MEDALLIONS AND
WHAT'S THE ROLE THEY PLAY IN
TERMS OF FOLKS OPERATING TAXIS
IN NEW YORK CITY?
>> SO IF YOU WANT TO OWN A
YELLOW CAB AND HAVE IT ON THE
STREETS, YOU HAVE TO GET ONE OF
THESE MEDALLIONS.
THERE ARE 13,000 OF THEM
ORIGINALLY ISSUED BY THE CITY.
ONCE THEY WERE ISSUED THEY COULD
BE RESOLD.
ABOUT HALF OF THEM ARE OWNED BY
FLEETS, BY BIG CORPORATIONS THAT
OWN HUNDREDS OF CABS.
THE OTHER HALF ARE OWNED BY
INDIVIDUAL DRIVER OWNERS.
>> IN THE STORY YOU SHOW
DRAMATICALLY THE INCREASE IN THE
COST OF THESE MEDALLIONS,
TALKING ABOUT NOT THAT LONG AGO
ABOUT $100,000 AND THEN A FEW
YEARS AGO UP OVER A MILLION
DOLLARS.
HOW DOES THAT DRAMATIC INCREASE
HAPPEN?
>> WELL, I TELL YOU HOW IT
DIDN'T HAPPEN.
IT DIDN'T HAPPEN BECAUSE THE
CABS WERE MAKING MORE MONEY.
>> THAT WAS GOING TO BE MY
FOLLOW-UP QUESTION BUT THAT'S A
GOOD WAY TO START OFF.
>> THE REVENUE THE CABS WERE
MAKING BASICALLY CHANGED.
WHAT CHANGED WAS A FEW THINGS.
FIRST OF ALL, THE CITY STARTED
SELLING NEW MEDALLIONS AT
AUCTIONS AND THEY STARTED AHEAD
OF THOSE AUCTIONS PROMOTING THE
SALES BY TAKE ING OUT ADS ON
TELEVISION, IN RADIO, IN
NEWSPAPERS SAYING THIS WAS
BETTER THAN THE STOCK MARKET,
THAT THIS WAS A PATH TO A WORRY
FREE RETIREMENT.
SO THAT WAS GOING ON.
THEN THERE WERE ALSO PEOPLE WHO
WERE MANIPULATING THE PRICE,
PEOPLE THAT ALREADY OWNED A LOT
OF MEDALLIONS WOULD GO TO THE
AUCTION AND PURPOSELY OVERPAY TO
BUY A MEDALLION BECAUSE THAT
WOULD MAKE EVERYBODY ELSE THINK
MEDALLIONS WERE WORTH MORE.
SO THAT WAS GOING ON.
BUT THE BIGGEST FACTOR THAT WE
FOUND LEADING TO THIS HUGE PRICE
INCREASE WAS ACTUALLY THE
LENDING PRACTICES BY THE BANKS
AND BY THE INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE
LENDING MONEY TO THE PEOPLE THAT
WERE BUYING MEDALLIONS.
>> LET ME GO BACK TO SOME OF THE
THINGS THAT YOU MENTIONED HERE.
IT REMIND ME OF MY DAYS AS A
PROSECUTOR AND A DEFENSE
ATTORNEY WHERE I WAS INVOLVED IN
A NUMBER OF CASES THAT HAD TO DO
WITH STOCK FRAUD.
AND WHAT YOU DESCRIBE IN THE
ARTICLE IN MANY WAYS SOUNDS LIKE
A CLASSIC STOCK MANIPULATION.
SO HLET'S START OFF WITH THE
CITY.
WHY DID THE CITY DECIDE WE WERE
GOING TO PUT MORE OF THEM ON THE
MARKET HERE?
JUST TO MAKE MONEY FOR THE CITY?
>> AT THE TIME, THIS STARTED IN
2004 UNDER FORMER MAYOR
BLOOMBERG.
AT THE TIME HE SAID THAT THE
CITY WAS GROWING, MORE PEOPLE
NEEDED MORE CABS.
BUT WE FOUND THAT AT THE TIME HE
HAD A $3.8 BILLION BUDGET GAP.
AND THIS WAS ONE OF THE WAYS
THAT HE WAS TRYING TO FIX IT.
>> YOU MENTIONED THE CITY.
I REMEMBER SOME OF THESE ADS.
AGAIN, LOOKING AT SOME PARALLELS
TO THE STOCK MARKET, SOME OF
THEM REMINDED ME OF WHEN YOU HAD
COMPANIES THAT ARE GOING TO GO
PUBLIC AND THEY'RE OUT ON THEIR
DOG AND PONY SHOWS PITCHING THIS
SAYING THIS IS A GREAT
INVESTMENT, BETTER THAN OTHER
THINGS ON THE STOCK MARKET.
HOW SURPRISING WAS IT TO FIND
THAT THE CITY'S OUT THERE
ADVERTISING TO PEOPLE, THIS IS
BETTER THAN THE STOCK MARKET?
>> IT WAS VERY SURPRISING.
THINK ABOUT IT.
THIS IS THE REGULATORY AGENCY.
I MEAN, IT'S AKIN TO THE
REGULATORY AGENCY THAT OVERSEES,
YOU KNOW, McDONALD'S TALKING
ABOUT HOW GREAT McDONALD'S
HAMBURGERS ARE.
I MEAN, IT WAS A VERY UNUSUAL
POSITION FOR THE CITY TO BE IN.
THERE WAS DISCOMFORT EVEN WITHIN
THE CITY AGENCY IN WHAT THEY
WERE DOING.
A LOT OF PEOPLE FELT THIS WASN'T
THE RIGHT THING FOR THE CITY TO
BE DOING, BUT THEY KEPT DOING IT
ANYWAY.
>> UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOU
OUTLINED IN TERMS OF SOME PEOPLE
DRIVING UP THE PRICE OF THESE
FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT, I'M SURE
FOLKS WHO READ YOUR ARTICLE AND
LISTENING TO OUR CONVERSATION
HERE NOW SAYING, I'M NOT
UNSYMPATHETIC TOWARD THE FOLKS
THAT WENT OUT AND BOUGHT THESE
MEDALLIONS, BUT THE BOTTOM LINE
SHOULD HAVE BEEN IF THEY LOOK
AND THEY SEE THAT IT USED TO BE
$100,000 AND NOW IT'S OVER A
MILLION DOLLARS AND THE COST OF
RIDING IN A CAR IS NOT GOING UP
THAT DRAMATICALLY, THAT WAS JUST
A BAD ECONOMIC DECISION FOR
THEM.
SO WHAT ARE THE ADVOCATES FOR
THE DRIVERS SAYING IN RESPONSE
TO THAT SUGGESTION, LOOK, IT'S
TERRIBLE THAT YOU'RE IN THE
SITUATION, BUT YOU JUST MADE A
BAD DECISION?
>> SO IT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE THESE
DRIVER OWNERS MADE A BAD
DECISION BUT I THINK IT'S
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THE
CONTEXT.
90% OF TAXI DRIVERS IN NEW YORK
CITY WERE NOT BORN IN THE UNITED
STATES.
THEY CAME OVER TRYING TO ACHIEVE
THE AMERICAN DREAM.
THEY CAME INTO A SYSTEM IN WHICH
THEY WERE TOLD THAT THE WAY TO
ACHIEVE THE AMERICAN DREAM IS TO
BUY A MEDALLION AND THEY WERE
TOLD BY THE CITY THIS WAS A PATH
TO A WORRY FREE RETIREMENT.
>> THIS WASN'T JUST LENDERS OUT
THERE PUMPING UP.
>> RIGHT.
>> BUT IT WAS ALSO THE CITY OF
NEW YORK SAYING BETTER THAN THE
STOCK MARKET.
>> CORRECT.
AS THE BUBBLE WAS REACHING ITS
PEAK, A LOT OF PEOPLE SELLING
THE MEDALLIONS AND LENDING THE
MONEY WERE ACTUALLY FLEET OWNERS
WHO WERE SELLING MEDALLIONS TO
THEIR OWN DRIVERS.
THAT'S BASICALLY YOUR BOSS
COMING TO YOU WITH A BUSINESS
OPPORTUNITY.
YOU HAVE A LEVEL OF TRUST IN
THAT PERSON AND SO YOU'RE MORE
LIKELY TO AGREE TO THE DEAL THAT
HE IS PROPOSING.
>> OBVIOUSLY YOUR REPORTING IN
THE "NEW YORK TIMES" HAS GOTTEN
A LOT OF ATTENTION HERE.
WE'VE HEARD NOW SOME OFFICIALS
SAYING WE WANT TO TAKE A GOOD
HARD LOOK AT THIS.
WHAT IS TAKING A GOOD HARD LOOK
MEAN IN TERMS OF ANYTHING THAT
COULD BE HELPFUL FOR THESE FOLKS
THAT FIND THEMSELVES UNDERWATER
IN TERMS OF THE MONEY THEY
BORROW?
>> IT'S A GOOD QUESTION.
ONE OF THE COMPLICATIONS HERE IS
THAT WE DID NOT FIND THAT
ANYTHING THAT THE HENLENDERS AN
THE PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY WERE
DOING WAS NECESSARILY ILLEGAL.
>> IT MAY WELL HAVE BEEN
UNETHICAL OR IMMORAL BUT YOU
DIDN'T FIND THERE WAS ILLEGAL
CONDUCT TAKING PLACE.
>> NOT NECESSARILY, YES.
AND ONE OF THE REASONS FOR THAT
IS THAT THESE LENDERS CLASSIFIED
THESE LOANS AS BUSINESS LOANS,
WHICH IN SOME WAYS THEY ARE.
DRIVING A TAXI IS A BUSINESS.
BUT THEY WERE IN MANY WAYS
PERSONAL LOANS BECAUSE IT IS ONE
PERSON.
>> IT'S A BUSINESS BUT THE BY
WAS THE ONE PERSON.
>> RIGHT.
ALSO THEY HAD TO GUARANTEE THE
LOAN WITH ALL OF THEIR PERSONAL
ASSETS AS A CONDITION OF THE
LOAN.
THE FACT THAT THEY CLASSIFIED IT
AS BUSINESS LOANS MEANS THERE
ARE A LOT FEWER RULES AROUND
THOSE LOANS.
IN TERMS OF WHAT'S GOING TO
HAPPEN NOW, THERE ARE
INVESTIGATIONS.
WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'LL FIND.
THE REAL PROBLEM NOW IS THAT
THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF DRIVER
OWNERS WHO ARE WAY UNDERWATER ON
THEIR LOANS AND TO BAIL THEM OUT
WOULD COST AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT
OF MONEY.
>> AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, IT WAS
MARVELOUS REPORTING, SUCH A
GREAT INDEPTH LOOK AT A
DIFFICULT PROBLEM THAT MOST
PEOPLE DIDN'T REALIZE EXISTED.
CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND YOUR
COLLEAGUES AT THE "NEW YORK
TIMES" FOR DOING A REALLY GOOD
JOB ON THIS.
>> THANK YOU.
>> TO FIND OUT WHERE YOU CAN
READ THE FULL REPORT BY THE "NEW
YORK TIMES" VISIT US AT
METROFOCUS.ORG.
>>> THREE LETTERS ARE POPPING UP
ON COFFEE SHOP SIGNS, BEAUTY
PRODUCT LABELS AND EVEN IN DOG
TREATS.
CBD.
WHAT IS THIS CANNABIS BASED
COMPOUND?
I TOOK A DEEP IDENTIFY INTO THE
WORLD TO TAKE A LOOK.
WHEN PATRONS POP INTO 7 LEAF
CLOEFR A HEMP BASED WELLNESS
STORE IN BROOKLYN THEY'RE OFTEN
LOOKING FOR REMEDIES TO PROBLEM.
>> PAIN MANAGEMENT, AUTO IMMUNE
AND ANXIETY, SLEEP IS HUGE TOO.
>> FOR THE STORE OWNER PLANT
BASED WELLNESS IS A FAMILY
BUSINESS.
HER PARENTS STARTED A LINE OF
HEALTH FOOD STORES IN 1971
CALLED THE HEALTH NUTS.
>> IN ABOUT 2015 THERE JUST
STARTED BEING A LOT OF INTEREST
ESPECIALLY FROM PARENTS OF
CHILDREN WITH AUTISM AND PEOPLE
WITH DEGENERATIVE DISEASES
AROUND CBD AND WHAT IT WAS ABOUT
AND IF IT WAS SAFE.
>> SHE AND HER FAMILY BEGAN
DOING RESEARCH, VISITING
COLORADO AND CALIFORNIA.
SHE SAYS CBD WAS MORE TABOO
THEN.
AFTER ALL, IT COMES FROM HEMP.
>> AFTER DOING SOME
INVESTIGATION AND GOING OUT WEST
AND TALKING TO THE EXPERTS, WE
JUST KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING WE
HAD TO OFFER TO PEOPLE THAT
WEREN'T FINDING ANY OTHER
SOLUTIONS IN PHARMACEUTICALS OR
IN THE PLANT WORLD.
>> CBD IS ONE OF MORE THAN 100
CHEMICAL COMPOUNDS CALL EED
CANABINOIDS.
RESEARCH HAS BEEN DONE TO STUDY
THE EFFECT CBD CAN HAVE ON
PEOPLE WITH HEROIN USE DISORDER.
HE SAYS CBD WAS FOUND TO CURB
CRAVINGS AND ANXIETY.
>> PATIENTS WHO HAD A HISTORY OF
HEROIN USE DISORDER WHO ARE
CURRENTLY NOT ACTIVITY ADDICTED,
WHEN THEY WERE SHOWN VIDEOS OF
HEROIN PARAPHERNALIA OF NEEDLES
AND SYRINGES AS OPPOSED TO
NEUTRAL VIDEOS TO ELICIT
CRAVING, THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAD
GOTTEN CBD FROM US IN THE STUDY
HAD LESS CRAVING THAN THE
PATIENTS, THE SUBJECTS WHO HAD
GOTTEN A PLACEBO.
INTERESTINGLY, A WEEK LATER THAT
EFFECT WAS STILL PRESENT.
>> HE SAYS THE STUDY'S FINDINGS
ARE IMPORTANT BECAUSE CRAVING IS
A FUNDAMENTAL ASPECT OF
ADDICTION.
>> IF A SAFE MEDICINE COULD BE
FOUND TO HELP ALLEVIATE CRAVING,
THAT WOULD BE A MAJOR ADVANCE IN
THE TREATMENT OF OPIOID
ADDICTION.
>> THE MECHANISM OF ACTION OF
CBD, HOW IT WORKS IN THE BRAIN,
REMAINS RELATIVELY UNKNOWN.
BUT ITS POTENTIAL MEDICAL USES
ARE PROMISING.
>> THERE WERE NO ADVERSE EFFECTS
FROM THE CBD.
SO FROM AN ADVERSE EFFECT AND
SAFETY POINT OF VIEW, CBD HAS A
VERY FAVORABLE PROFILE.
IT'S NOT YET READY FOR PRIME
TIME.
WE DON'T KNOW THE CORRECT
DOSAGES.
WE DON'T KNOW THE EXACT DOSING
SCHEDULE.
BUT THERE CERTAINLY IS A SIGNAL
HERE THIS MAY BE A HELPFUL
MEDICATION, NOT TO REPLACE THE
MEDICATIONS WE'RE CURRENTLY
USING, BUT THESE CBD COULD BE
ADDED INTO THAT REGIMENT AND
COULD BE HELPFUL TO GET A BETTER
OUTCOME.
>> HE WARNS THAT THE DEMAND FOR
CBD HAS OUTPACED SCIENTIFIC
STUDY OF THE COMPOUND.
HE POINTS TO A RESEARCH LETTER
IN THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN
MEDICAL ASSOCIATION SHOWING
INACCURACIES IN PRODUCT LABELING
AND SAYS THE LENGITIMACY OF SOM
PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET IS
QUESTIONABLE.
>> IT'S GETTING TO THE POINT
THAT ALMOST EVERYTHING HAS CBD
IN IT.
WE THINK IT'S GREATLY
EXAGGERATED RIGHT NOW AND
DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE.
>> THE MARKET HAS BEEN FLOODED
WITH PRODUCTS AND NOT ALL OF
EQUAL.
FOR CUSTOMERS LOOKING TO BUY HER
WELL RESEARCHED TOP PICKS 7
HE --
HE FOUND CBD GAVE HIM THE SAME
ABILITY TO MORE EASILY RELAX AS
A GLASS OF WINE.
>> I FOUND THAT JUST KIND OF
LIKE A GUMMY OR A MINT OR
SOMETHING WAS A REALLY NICE WAY
TO TAKE THE EDGE OFF, NOT IN A
WAY THAT FELT LIKE I WAS UNDER
THE INFLUENCE BUT JUST THAT I
WAS A BIT RELAXED.
>> CBD WAS TAKEN OFF THE LIST OF
SCHEDULE ONE DRUGS IN DECEMBER
20
2018.
BUT THE LEGALITY REMAINS A
CONFUSING GRAY AREA.
THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH INFORMED RESTAURANTS THEY
CANNOT SELL CBD INFUSED FOOD OR
DRINK ITEMS.
THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG
ADMINISTRATION HAS ADVISED IT'S
UNLAWFUL TO ADD CBD TO FOOD OR
DRINK.
WE ARE CURRENTLY INFORMING
BUSINESSES IN NEW YORK CITY
ABOUT THIS REGULATION AND HAVE
IMPLEMENTED AN EDUCATIONAL
PERIOD TO HELP THEM ACHIEVE
COMPLIANCE.
THE BAN IS SET TO TAKE EFFECT
THIS SUMMER UNLESS FEDERAL
REGULATORS DEEM CBD OKAY FOR
FOOD AND DRINK CONSUMPTION.
THE FDA WILL HOLD A PUBLIC
HEARING ON MAY 31st.
>> THERE'S ALL THESE INTRICACIES
IN OPERATING THAT YOU KIND OF
HAVE TO BE ABREAST OF IF YOU
WANT TO RUN A BUSINESS.
BUT THAT'S WHAT RUNNING A
BUSINESS IS.
>> SHE SAYS IF RULES CHANGE TO
THE POINT WHERE SHE CAN'T
OPERATE HER BUSINESS, THEN SHE
WON'T.
BUT SHE DOESN'T THINK THAT WILL
HAPPEN.
AS FOR BEING ON THE FOREFRONT OF
SOMETHING THAT MAY LEAVE PEOPLE
SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS, SHE'S
NOT WORRIED ABOUT THAT EITHER.
>> MY FAMILY HAS BEEN IN KIND OF
A CONTROVERSIAL INDUSTRY FOR 50
YEARS.
YOU HAVE TO THINK WHEN THEY
STARTED THERE WAS NO ORGANICS OR
HEALTH FOOD.
IT SEEMS NATURAL NOW BUT IT
WASN'T INTUITIVE.
IT'S THE SAME THING WITH THIS.
>> STATES BOTH RED AND BLUE ARE
TAKING UP AN ISSUE THAT'S
DIVIDED THE COUNTRY FOR DECADES,
ABORTION.
EARLIER THIS YEAR IN NEW YORK
STATE ENACTED STRONG NEW LEGAL
PROTECTIONS FOR ABORTION RIGHTS.
STATE LEADERS SAY THE MOVE WAS
NEEDED SHOULD THE SUPREME COURT
DECIDE TO OVERTURN ROE VERSUS
WADE, THE LANDMARK CASE THAT
ESTABLISHED FEDERAL PROTECTIONS
FOR THE PROCEDURE BACK IN 1973.
BUT IT'S A MUCH DIFFERENT STORY
IN MANY OTHER STATES INCLUDING
DOWN SOUTH WHERE STATES LIKE
ALABAMA RECENTLY PASSED
LEGISLATION EFFECTIVELY
OUTLAWING ABORTION ALL TOGETHER.
THE "NEW YORK TIMES" REPORTS
THAT THE NATIONAL RACE TO PASS
NEW LAWS STARTED LAST YEAR WHEN
PRESIDENT TRUMP MADE JUDGE BRETT
KAVANAGH HIS SUPREME COURT PICK.
SOME BELIEVE HE MAY WELL BE A
CRUCIAL FIFTH VOTE AS THIS FIGHT
PLAYS OUT.
FOR MORE WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE
BACK WITH US DAN ABRAMS.
ABC CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS
CORRESPONDENT AND THE COAUTHOR
OF THE BOOK "THEODORE ROOSEVELT
FOR THE DEFENSE" THE COURTROOM
BAT TTLE TO SAFE HIS LEGACY.
LET'S TALK SOME CONSTITUTIONAL
AND POLITICAL BACKGROUND IF WE
CAN HERE.
IT'S OFTEN SAID THAT A
PRESIDENT, THEIR GREATEST LEGACY
MAY WELL BE THE SUPREME COURT.
WHAT'S MEANT BY THAT AND HOW IS
THAT PLAYED OUT FOR US IN THE
PAST?
>> THERE ARE A FEW AREAS THAT A
PRESIDENT HAS THE SOLE POWER TO
INFLUENCE SOMETHING AS MUCH AS
THE PICKS TO THE UNITED STATES
SUPREME COURT.
YES, THERE'S SENATE
CONFIRMATION, BUT IT IS REALLY
HIS CHOICE.
AND IT CAN FUNDAMENTALLY SHAPE
THE DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY.
NOW, SO FAR WE HAVEN'T HAD ONE
OF THESE FUNDAMENTAL
GAME-CHANGING SUPREME COURT
APPOI
APPOINTMENTS.
THERE'S BEEN A SLOW EVOLUTION.
THE COURT IS MORE CONSERVATIVE
TODAY THAN IT WAS 25 YEARS AGO.
BUT STILL WE'RE WAITING FOR THAT
BIG SWITCH, WHICH IS
CONSERVATIVE APPOINTED IN PLACE
OF LIBERAL THAT FUNDAMENTALLY
CHANGES THE BALANCE OF THE
COURT.
AND THE COURT HAS NEVER BEEN SO
DIVIDED IN TERMS OF THESE 5-4
DECISIONS.
SO THOSE PICKS MATTER MORE THAN
EVER.
IN THE LAST TEN YEARS THE PICKS
HAVE BECOME EVEN MORE BECAUSE OF
THAT 5-4 DIVIDE.
>> AS WE KNOW, EVEN A
PRESIDENT'S SIGNATURE
LEGISLATIVE SUCCESS CAN BE OVER
TURNED.
>> YEP.
>> ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU HAVE A
NEW CONGRESS COME IN.
SUPREME COURT JUSTICES APPOINTED
FOR LIFE.
THEY'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE.
>> IT'S TRUE.
WE TALK ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY,
THE PRESIDENT HAVING ENORMOUS
POWER.
IT'S TRUE.
BUT YOU'RE RIGHT, IT'S
TEMPORARY.
YOU CAN HAVE A LEGACY THAT LASTS
FOR 40 YEARS.
>> AS I MENTIONED, ROE VERSUS
WADE 1973 AND JUDICIAL NOMINEES
ARE OFTEN IF NOT ALWAYS ASKED
ABOUT THE NOTION OF LEGAL
PRECEDENT.
YOU AND I KNOW THE TERM IT
STANDS DECIDED.
AND I SUSPECT THAT SOME PEOPLE
MIGHT THINK, WELL, IF IT'S BEEN
DECIDED YOU CAN'T UN-DECIDE IT.
>> NO.
>> EXPLAIN THAT TO US.
>> THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THEY
WANT.
THE PRINCIPLE THAT IS APPLIED
HAS BEEN YOU HAVE RESPECT FOR
PREVIOUS DECISIONS.
AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS SO
THAT YOU DON'T HAVE THE SAME
SITUATION THAT YOU HAVE IN THE
POLITICAL WORLD WHERE YOU GET A
NEW PRESIDENT IN AND SUDDENLY
THE WORLD CHANGES.
THE POINT IS THAT WHEN IT COMES
TO SOMETHING LIKE THE COURT
WHERE YOU WANT A LEVEL OF
DEPENDABILITY, YOU WANT A LEVEL
OF CONSISTENCY AND YOU WANT
RESPECT FOR PREVIOUS DECISIONS
THAT HAVE BEEN MADE.
BUT THERE ARE CERTAIN JUSTICES
WHO ARE ON THE COURT RIGHT NOW
WHO HAVE BASICALLY SAID I'M NOT
REALLY THAT CONCERNED.
JUSTICE THOMAS BEING ONE OF
THEM.
WITH WHAT THE PRECEDENT IS.
IT SEEMS THAT JUSTICE GORSUCH IS
PROBABLY GOING TO BE PART OF
THAT BLOC AS WELL.
BUT I THINK THOSE WHO THINK ROE
VERSUS WADE IS GOING TO GET
OVERTURNED ARE MISTAKEN,
MEANING, THIS IS WHY THE ALABAMA
LAW, I THINK, IS PROBLEM FOR PRO
LIFE NOT PRO CHOICE.
>> A LOT OF PEOPLE MIGHT FIND
THAT UNUSUAL.
>> IT'S THE HARSHEST LAW IN THE
COUNTRY.
NO GAMES.
NO WE'RE DOING THIS TO PROTECT
THE MOTHER.
WE'RE DOING THIS ENSURE THEY
HAVE HOSPITALS.
THERE'S NO EFFORT TO WINK AND
NOD HERE.
THIS IS SAYING WE ARE BANNING
ABORTION, PERIOD.
TH
UP TO THIS POINT THERE'S ALWAYS
BEEN ARGUMENTS LIKE, WELL, COME
ON, CONSENT ON THE PART OF
PARENTS OR SHOULD THERE BE
CONSENT OF A HUSBAND OR MAKING
SURE NO ONE IS GETTING AN
ABORTION BASED ON THE RACE OR
SEX OR GENDER OF THE CHILD, ET
CETERA.
THERE IS ANOTHER SIDE TO ALL OF
THAT.
SO IT ALLOWS THOSE WHO OPPOSE
ABORTION TO SAY THAT WE ARE JUST
IMPOSING WHAT'S CALLED AN UNDUE
BURDEN.
>> THOSE MAGIC WORDS.
THE COURT CASE RECENTLY SAID
THERE CAN BE SOME RESTRICTIONS
AS LONG AS THEY DON'T CREATE AN
UNDUE BURDEN.
>> RIGHT.
THE QUESTION BECOMES WHAT DOES
THAT MEAN.
>> THAT'S WHY YOU CONTINUE TO
HAVE LITIGATION.
PEOPLE OFTEN SAY WHY ISN'T THIS
SETTLED AND THE ANSWER IS WHAT'S
AN UNDUE BURDEN.
>> ALABAMA IS NOT PRETENDING.
SO IT'S THE KIND OF CASE WHERE
EVEN PAT ROBERTSON SAYS, YOU
KNOW, THIS HAS GONE TOO FAR.
WHEN PAT ROBERTSON SAYS IT'S
GONE TOO FAR, THERE'S A REASON.
HE GETS IT.
HE KNOWS IT'S A POSSIBLE PROBLEM
FOR THEM.
SO THE MORE DANGEROUS CASES FOR
THE PRO CHOICE SIDE ARE THE ONES
THAT WILL JUST CHIP AWAY SLOWLY,
MAKE IT HARDER AND HARDER AND
HARDER FOR WOMEN THE GET
ABORTIONS IN PARTICULAR STATES.
>> YOU OFTEN HEAR PEOPLE
INVOLVED IN LITIGATION SAY,
OKAY, WE'RE TAKING OUR CASE TO
THE SUPREME COURT AS IF EVERY
C
CASE GETS TO GO TO THE SUPREME
COURT.
WHAT'S THE REALITY IN TERMS OF
HOW OFTEN CASES ACTUALLY GET TO
THE SUPREME COURT AND WHAT IS IT
THAT DRAWS THE JUSTICES'
ATTENTION TO MAKE THEM SAY,
OKAY, WE WANT THIS ONE.
>> THE VAST MAJORITY OF CASES
THE COURT WILL SAY WE'RE NOT
HEARING IT.
THAT MEANS THE LOWER COURT
OPINION IS EFFECTIVELY AFFIRMED.
>> THE NUMBER LAST YEAR MIGHT
HAVE BEEN AROUND 10,000
APPLICATIONS AND THEY HEARD 70
CASES.
>> THERE'S GOING TO BE A NUMBER
OF AT LEAST -- I SHOULDN'T SAY
NUMBER.
THERE'S GOING TO BE A BIG
ABORTION DECISION IN THE NEXT
COUPLE OF YEARS.
IT'S GOING TO HAVE TO HAPPEN.
WHICH OF THESE CASES IT'S GOING
TO BE, THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF
DIFFERENT STATE LAWS, DIFFERENT
RESTRICTIONS.
MY GUESS IS THEY'LL COMBINE THEM
TO SOME DEGREE AND MAYBE
IMPLEMENT A DIFFERENT STANDARD.
BUT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW THAT
THERE WAS A LOUISIANA CASE
RECENTLY WHERE THE LOWER COURT
ACTUALLY RULED THAT A VERY TOUGH
LOUISIANA LAW WAS OKAY TO
IMPLEMENT.
SO TRIAL COURT SAID NO GO.
APPELLATE COURT SAID WE DON'T
THINK IT'S AN UNDUE BURDEN.
AND THE SUPREME COURT ISSUED A
STAY, MEANING, ENOUGH OF THE
JUSTICES BASICALLY SAID WE'RE
GOING TO HOLD OFF ON LETTING
THEM IMPLEMENT THIS LAW.
IT WAS ROBERTS AND THE FOUR
LIBERALS AND EVEN KBRETT KAVANAH
SAID WHILE HE WOULDN'T NOT HAVE
GRANTED THE STAY, HE WANTED TO
KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT THE BURDEN
WOULD BE.
DO I THINK THAT KAVANAUGH IS
GOING TO BE A PRO CHOICE
JUSTICE?
ABSOLUTELY NOT.
BUT WHEN IT COMES TO OVERTURNING
ROE VERSUS WADE, I THINK YOU'RE
GOING TO HAVE ROBERTS AND I
THINK KAVANAUGH WOULD BE MORE
RELUCTANT THAN SOME PEOPLE THINK
TO PURELY OVERTURNING ROE VERSUS
WADE.
>> THE ALABAMA CASE.
>> YES.
OR ANY OF THESE CASES TO
BASICALLY SAY WE'RE GOING TO
IGNORE ROE VERSUS WADE FROM NOW
ON AND STATES CAN DO WHAT THEY
WANT.
>> WE ALWAYS LEARN A LOT MORE
WHEN WE CHAT WITH YOU ABOUT
THESE THINGS.
>> WE COULD TURN THIS AROUND AND
I COULD BE ASKING YOU AND YOU'D
KNOW IT BETTER.
>> YOU AND I HAVE DONE THAT
BEFORE.
PLEASURE AS ALWAYS.
AGAIN, I WANT TO MENTION GREAT
BOOK "THEODORE ROOSEVELT FOR THE
DEFENSE" THE COURTROOM BATTLE TO
SAVE HIS LEGACY.
>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE
BY --
>> CORPORATE FUNDING FOR
"METROFOCUS" WAS PROVIDED BY --
§

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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