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Same-Sex Marriage Decisions Could Go to Supreme Court; Supreme Court Says Warrant Required to Search Electronic Devices; Republicans to Sue Obama Over Abuse of Power; Humanitarian Crisis at the Border; Interview with Rep. Luke Messier
Aired June 25, 2014 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Washington.
A court decision in Utah today paves the way for a possible Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. A federal appeals court struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage. In a 2-1 ruling, the court said the 14th Amendment protects right to marry and a state cannot deny couples the right based on sex. Utah officials could ask the full appeals court to review the decision or proceed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Also today, a federal judge in Indiana struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage as well.
Here in Washington, a blunt and unanimous message to police from the U.S. Supreme Court: Get a warrant when it comes to searching cell phones, smart phones, other mobile devices of criminal suspects without probable cause.
Let's bring in George Washington University law professor, Jonathan Turley.
First of all, on this decision, saying that these laws banning same- sex marriage in Utah, Indiana, they were really unconstitutional, what do you say?
JONATHAN TURLEY, LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: The trend is becoming overwhelming across the country. It's not just more liberal or Democratic states, as you can see, with states like Utah. The judges across the country are finding unanimity in their view of these bans. And they're falling almost on a monthly basis. The result is that if the Supreme Court's going to consider this issue, the pressure is building for them to do so. There are people on that court, including Justice Scalia, who are opposed to this type of analysis.
BLITZER: What do you think, do you think the Supreme Court will take up this --
TURLEY: Well, the thing is, these justices do count heads. They count votes. I think Scalia may view this as the best time to do it. It's only going to get worse, in terms of the -- if the Supreme Court goes the way of these lower courts. I think there will be pressure for them to accept the case.
But the thing to remember, they have steadfastly avoided this issue. Even if the same-sex marriage cases that they just resolved, they were very careful not to commit themselves on this ultimate decision.
BLITZER: What about this other major decision today, a unanimous decision, 9-0, saying if you're arrested, you can't automatically -- police can't automatically take a look at your cell phone, go through it, looking for evidence? They need a warrant to do so.
TURLEY: Wolf, a lot times these cases get very esoteric. This is one that touches the lives of citizens. Cell phones have become the sort of holding place of electronic files. They're the computer people use the most in terms of electronic collections. This decision's important for citizens. The requirement of the government is really not that high. They have to get a warrant.
But the fact the Obama administration was arguing against these privacy rights is further alienating civil libertarians from the administration. The fact their position would bring unanimity to this court shows how extreme it was, that both the state and federal law enforcement were arguing that you don't have privacy protections, even though those phones now hold family pictures, intimate messages. It's a very important privacy win.
BLITZER: As you point out, the liberals on the court, the conservatives on the court, on this specific issue, they all agree. That doesn't happen very often, does it?
TURLEY: No, president has brought unanimity to the Supreme Court. It's not the way he wanted.
BLITZER: This is obviously an issue that affects everyone. If you have a speeding ticket or whatever --
TURLEY: Including the media. The media entered this case and said this could be very, very bad. Reporters could end up losing confidential sources. It would have blown a huge hole in privacy in America.
BLITZER: Major decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. We'll continue this conversation.
Jonathan Turley, thanks very much.
TURLEY: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thousands of immigrant children are crossing the border without their parents, undocumented. How the Obama administration plans to deal with this growing number. The Republicans' fiery response. That's coming up.
Also, presidents have a lot of leeway in how they carry out their job, mostly, by issuing executive orders. All presidents do so. Now some in Congress want to sue President Obama over his use of these executive orders. The speaker wants to sue the president. A Republican lawmaker standing by to discuss.
BLITZER: On "This Day in History," June 25th, 1996, a massive truck bomb explodes outside a billion housing U.S. military personnel in Khobar (ph), Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. servicemembers. Those responsible escaped, but investigators later blamed Hezbollah for the attack.
The president of the United States is largely immune from lawsuits over actions he takes while in office. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that more than 30 years ago. So why are the House Speaker John Boehner, some other House Republican, now vowing to take President Obama to court? They say it's because this president is using executive orders to illegally sidestep Congress. Could be a tough case to make. President Obama's executive orders are nowhere near as numerous as some of the other past presidents. Less than half of those, for example, by Ronald Reagan, during his eight years.
When asked this morning about that, the House Speaker John Boehner explained why he intended to pursue the matter in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The Constitution makes it clear that a president's job is to faithfully execute the laws. In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws. We have a system of government outlined in our constitution with the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch. Congress has its job to do and so does the president. And when there's conflicts like this between the regulative branch and the administrative branch, it's, in my view, our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The Republican Congressman Luke Messier of Indiana is joining us live from Capitol Hill.
Congressman, thank you very much for coming in.
I guess a lot of people are asking a fundamental question, do Republicans really intend to sue a president of the United States, or are Republicans trying to make an important political point?
REP. LUKE MESSIER, (R), INDIANA: No, I think this is very serious. This is about restoring the balance of powers. As the speaker alluded to in your clip, the Constitution is very clear it Congress makes the laws. It's the executive's job to implement them.
You referenced, Wolf, that this president maybe doesn't have as many executive orders as some other presidents, but it's the type of order: so implementing a federal minimum wage contrary to the law, not deporting folks who are here in the country contrary to the law, extending deadlines on the Obamacare bill in ways that are contrary to the law. We really have very few options, as members of Congress, particularly in this world where Harry Reid won't let bills from this -- from our House be heard on their side. So this lawsuit's the last choice we have.
BLITZER: If you go back, though, and take a look at some of the executive orders, not all of them, by any means, earlier American presidents, Ronald Reagan -- I assume you're a great admirer of Ronald Reagan -- during his eight years, almost 400 executive orders. There are executive orders and executive orders. But if you study some of those Ronald Reagan on George H.W. Bush or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton executive orders, you'll find that some of them are very similar to what this president is doing.
So the question, the question has to be asked, if there's a Republican president down the road -- and you would like to see a Republican president in the White House -- if you go forward with this, are you concerned you would be narrowing the prerogatives, the executive authority of a Republican president down the road?
MESSIER: Yeah, to me, this isn't politically at all. We need to rein in and bring back the balance of powers. Congress makes the law. The executive should implement them.
You're right. I mean, listen, this president isn't the first person to stretch the bounds of what executive orders should be. But I think this is an important power of Congress. When the president does more than just implement the law, when he starts to change the law in a way that is contrary to the Constitution, Congress ought to have the authority to step in and challenge that.
Frankly, I think we need the Supreme Court here to call balls and strikes and tell the American people the kind of implementation we've seen from this president really is more than we've seen it prior times in history. Hopefully, that will be result of this lawsuit.
BLITZER: You went to Vanderbilt Law School. Are you going to be involved? Do you have a specific legal brief that you're preparing right now? How far down the road are you, if you're seriously going ahead with a lawsuit?
MESSIER: Well, I think you will see a lawsuit that is serious. I'm not the one drafting the brief. But you're right. This is about more than the current political debate. It's about more than this president. It's about having a healthy humility, as our founding fathers did, about the importance of the balance of powers. And hopefully, this suit will be successful.
BLITZER: We'll see if it actually goes forward and what it does.
Just to remind our viewers, so far, during his almost six years in office, President Obama has signed almost 172 executive orders. Ronald Reagan, during his eight years in office, signed 381. Bill Clinton, by the way, 364 during his eight years. So as all of us know, these executive orders signed by presidents, nothing new. We'll see if the lawsuit goes forward. Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.
MESSIER: Thanks again, Wolf.
BLITZER: There's a tense partisan fight going on right now over the fate of thousands of immigrant children, undocumented, unaccompanied here in the United States. Many are being held in hot, crowded detention facilities after crossing in the United States illegally, so often without any parents. The growing problem, the fiery debate over their status, that's coming up.
BLITZER: Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson holding a news conference right now to address what many are calling a major humanitarian crisis at the U.S./Mexico border. Secretary Johnson is at a facility in Arizona right now, filled with unaccompanied children who crossed into the United States from Mexico, most originally from Central America. The issue has sparked tense political debate in Washington with some Republicans accusing the Obama administration of simply doing too little too late.
Polo Sandoval has been following the story for us, with analysis of finger-pointing going on.
The House Judiciary Committee is about to hold hearings on all of this. What is the latest? This is a real humanitarian tragedy that's going on.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. And that's the emergency that Secretary Johnson and really the rest of the administration is trying to put forward. And a busy past 24 hours for the secretary. Just yesterday, here in Washington, speaking before some lawmakers there. And he is really pressing and really talking about his potential solution here, the administration's solution, a public relations campaign they have launched, trying to send their message to families in central America, not to really brave that danger, because chances are, you won't be able to stay in the country. And also pushing for more immigration attorneys or immigration judges, as well. And also the other issue he's trying to drive home, one of the reasons why he's in Arizona right now, to try to open more facilities to try to really accommodate this overflow of so many Border Patrol facilities. We know of at least one place, one warehouse, aluminum warehouse, about 55,000 square foot warehouse is now being adapted right now in the city of McAllen, Texas, on the border. That's expected to provide some relief. And we expect that to happen much, much more. One of the reasons why the secretary is on the border, yet again.
BLITZER: You and I have discussed there are different rules regarding unaccompanied minors, kids who cross over, come to the United States, as opposed to adults who cross over illegally and come to the United States. SANDOVAL: Remember, some of these children have to be released to HHS
within 72 hours. And that's one of the reasons really the Republicans are really firing off and really responding with some critique of their own.
Also with respect to the potential border security issue, in fact, yesterday, during one of those hearings, Congressman Michael McCaul making it very clear, they need to try to provide some relief to Border Patrol agents who are busy in detention centers, instead of along the border.
BLITZER: he's the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, too, from Texas.
Thanks very much, Polo. You'll have a lot more coming up later in "The Situation Room."
And don't miss CNN Film's "Documented," the story of a Pulitzer Prize- winning journalist living in the United States illegally. He's about to risk everything by coming forward, telling you and all of us his story. Watch "Documented," Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. eastern, only here on CNN.
Still ahead, keeping time at World Cup matches. You may have seen sideline officials holding up this sign. When does the soccer game really end? Well, one person knows, only one person. And we're going to tell you why soccer officials have more power than any other sport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundreds and thousands of Negro citizens of Alabama denied the right to vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're willing to have democracy. And you have refused democracy in the street.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are confronted primarily with a moral issue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you can keep Birmingham in the present situation of segregation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I may not be able to do it, but I'll die trying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I without thought we were going to be arrested. And he said troopers advance. I thought I was going to die stop hey what's that sound
(SHOUTING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe the time has come for the president to step in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.
ANNOUNCER: "The Sixties," tomorrow night at 9:00 on CNN
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I strongly, strongly recommend this documentary. The entire series is really, really excellent. Excellent TV.
Take a closer look at what's going on at the World Cup in Brazil. There is a huge soccer mystery that's continuing, one that both players and fans have a hard time answering: When is a match over? There is no giant score board clock ticking down the time, like you see in American football game, for example. Instead, only one person, only one person knows when a World Cup match is going to end.
Andy Scholes explains.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Wolf. In America, we like to know when our games are going to end. We love last-second field goals, buzzer-beaters and time-outs where we can get up and get a cold beverage. The rest of the world doesn't subscribe to our way of clock management when it comes to soccer. The clock runs the entire game and there is only one person, one, who knows when a World Cup match is going to end, and that's the head official.
Now we know each half is supposed to be 45 minutes, but there is this time that's added on known as stoppage time or added time. Right before the clock gets 45 oar 90, a side official holds up this sign and let's everyone know what the suggested amount of time added is going to be.
How do they come up with this number? Here are the FIFA guidelines. Time lost, assessment and treatment of players and time wasted from any other causes. Time wasting is what hurt Team USA against Portugal. Originally, the stoppage time, four minutes, but because Grand Suze (ph) took his sweet time walking off the field, the main official gave Portugal a little more time. And that extra money allowed Fornaldo (ph) to get the ball, and Portugal scores the tying goal and we ended up looking like Tim Howard when everything was said and done.
Now, that was likely Portugal's last chance at scoring, because in extra time, when it's nearing its end, an official's not going to blow the whistle he will while a team is attacking on the other team's end. They're going to wait to clear the ball out. Unfortunately, Team USA not able to clear the ball one more time and ended up tying the game.
And Wolf, we found out firsthand that soccer officials have more power than any other sport, because they and they alone decide when the game is going to end.
BLITZER: Andy Scholes, thanks very much. We're learning a lot more about soccer.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. Eastern in "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you then.
In the meantime, NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, thank you so much.