Martin Bashir | March 01, 2013
>>> and people wonder why you push people's buttons every once in a while .
>> it's fun to push buttons.
>> is it?
>> as you just heard, supreme court justice antonin scalia loves to push people's buttons and this week has been loaded with laughs for him. take a listen to what the distinguished jurist had to say in a case that would decide the case of the 1955 voting rights act . this features the oral arguments on wednesday.
>> now, i don't think that's attributable to the fact that it is so much clearer now that we need this. i think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. it's been written about. whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.
>> there, wasn't that hilarious? of course, there are some people, kill snjoys to mr. scalia's way of thinking when you inject overt bias into arguments before the supreme court .
>> do you think that the right to vote is a racial entilement in section 5?
>> no, the 15th amendment protects the right of all to vote --
>> i asked a different question. do you think section 5 was voted for because it was a racial entitlement?
>> well, congress --
>> that, of course, was justice sonia sotomayor taking the phrase used by justice scalia and throwing it into the face of the attorney arguing in favor of weakening the voting rights act . joining us now is my colleague toure , co-host of "the cycle" and msnbc contributor jimmy williams live with us from washington. toure , this is hardly the first time justice scalia has, to borrow someone else 's phrase, pushed people's button. a federal judge named richard posner criticized his ruling on the arizona law. let me quote. there are no citations to that part of the opinion where he talks about the people of arizona are trying to defend themselves from this horde. it gives that part of the opinion the air of a campaign speech. campaign speeches are all well and good, but do we really expect that from the bench of the supreme court ?
>> i don't know what to expect from the bench of the supreme court at this point. it's definitely becoming a very politicized body, which it's not supposed to be, but it is completely that. sort of another congress per se . is fairness a racial entitlement? is protecting people's right to vote a racial entitlement? is telling people that shats will not play shenanigans and change your right to vote in terms of redistricting, in terms of voter i.d. which all those areas including shelby in 2008 redistricted to make sure the one black elected official they had was not re-elected. so we have these shenanigans happening all the time and protecting them is an entitlement? so you're giving us the right to vote as if we are the takers in this game of makers and takers, which that whole language is completely racist and this idea that white people work hard and then they give their money to lazy black people .
>> of course. jimmy , you have a very interesting new piece coming out on our website. you say and i'm quoting your piece, justice scalia 's comments from the bench of racial entitlement were code to white americans . now, i'm not asking you that you become a traitor to your own race, jimmy , but would you mind unlocking this code for toure and myself and perhaps for the benefit of our audience?
>> let's be clear, if the argument from wednesday were in 1963 , i wouldn't be at all shocked or surprised. this is 2013 . when i was a kid growing up in south carolina and i was, you know, a gay kid growing up in south carolina , i would hear code words , sissy or fairy or fruity or whatever the word was, i knew who they were talking about. when you hear someone say racial entitlement, i am reminded of just four or five or six months ago during the last presidential campaign when we heard things like food stamp president, welfare queen , et cetera , et cetera . i wrote a piece in the agrgre the agree know in november saying there is no difference between racial entitle am and using the "n" word. i grew up in a racist society which is far less racest than i was as a child, but today in my home state's capitol building flies the confederate flag . it is overt and blatant. what justice scalia said from the bench in 2013 is one of the most political racist comments i have ever heard in my 21 years in washington, d.c. i'm embarrassed he's a justice.
>> toure , if you really want to know what makes justice scalia crazy, mad crazy, take a listen to this.
>> but it really enrages me to hear people refer to it as a politicized court. thert i nor any one of my colleagues votes a certain way because he or she likes this president or is a member of the party that that president belongs to. i couldn't care less who the president is.
>> there he is raging against your suggestion that the court is politicized. maybe he didn't mean what you think and what jimmy thinks he meant by racial entitlement.
>> well, i mean, as jimmy broke down so eloquently, there is really only one way to take this concept of racial entitle am and the makers and takers, the 47%. all this way we said of why people work hard as romney showed in his welfare to work ad, white people work hard and we're forced to give our money to black and brown people , isn't that wrong? shouldn't we change that? the court we see today is pretty well divided, and we know which way that thomas and alito and for the most part roberts and of course scalia are going to go. we know the way sotomayor and kagan and breyer are going to go. it is very locked in just as congress is, and what they're doing in defanging the voting rights act is they're creating a situation where people will have to be discriminated against via the shenanigans and then suffer discrimination, have the election pass, then prove it in court, wait through the years it might take to get their case into a court, deal with appeals. after they've been discriminated against once or twice or multiple times say back then we were discriminated against, the election is long gone. doesn't it make sense to prevent the discrimination at the door especially when we have seven of the nine full states that are under the preclearance thing? all seven of the nine of them have tried to put in voter i.d. laws, especially texas which was struck down in 2008 . this is not about 1965 . this is happening now.
>> jimmy , toure is from massachusetts , so you know that conservatives love to show their patriotism by denigrating the state that helped start the american revolution . take a listen to this.
>> which state has the greatest disparity in registration between white and african-american?
>> i do not know that.
>> massachusetts .
>> now, the secretary of state of massachusetts is calling chief justice roberts outs on this one. he says, and i'm quoting, the concept of black communities in massachusetts not voting is an old slur, and it's not true. the chief justice shouldn't be using phony statistics. it's deceptive and it's truly disgusti disgusting.
>> how about that?
>> i would like to suggest to anyone that's listening right now that if they remember the busing riots, where did the busing riots happen? they didn't happen in south carolina or florida or georgia or alabama or mississippi. they happened in massachusetts . racism is in every pocket of this country. every community. i am sick and tired of this idea that the south is filled with bigots and the northeast is filled with progressive liberals . that is not the case. at the end of the day racism is everywhere, and these justices have a problem --
>> jimmy , jimmy , jimmy --
>> i know you're from the south. you know that -- yes, racism is everywhere. i loved through some of the busing riots and boston was up south, but, i mean, there is more concentrated racism going on today and historically in america in the south than anywhere else and it's not really comparable to other areas --
>> i'm not suggesting -- wait, wait, wait. but wait. i'm not suggesting to you that the south doesn't have a lock on racism. i just gave you the confederate flag being in front of the south carolina state house . what i'm suggesting to you is this. the idea will isn't racism elsewhere in the country, if that's the case, then, in fact, section 5 should only be applied to those places. when, in fact, section 5 frankly in my opinion should be like section 2 , applied to the entire country.
>> that's what i think should happen.
>> rather than thoking it down it should be extended.
>> that's exactly right.
>> toure and jimmy williams , i wish we had more time. gentlemen, you're too smart.