In the aftermath of California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom declaring that he will push to get gun makers sued by using a similar principle used in Texas to fight abortion providers, CNN and MSNBC both cheered his efforts at making a rhetorical point against Republicans as well as his anti-gun efforts.
On Monday morning, CNN’s New Day had on an all-liberal panel to discuss the issue as podcast host Mara Schiavocampo joined CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, with Toobin admitting that he is so “cynical” toward the conservative Supreme Court that he expects a double standard in whether California gun laws are struck down while Schiavocampo cheered the political statement against Republicans Newsom is making.
On the same day’s Deadline: White House on MSNBC, host Nicolle Wallace gushed over her MSNBC contributor Barbara McQuade accusing the conservative court of “hypocrisy,” and contributor Claire McCaskill predicted similar laws to help round up possible illegal immigrants based merely on how a person looks.
As fill-in New Day host Caitlin Collins set up the segment, she read a statement from Governor Newsom claiming that his anti-gun efforts would save people’s lives while Republicans are allegedly costing lives. She immediately went to Schiavocampo who declared it a “smart” move for the Democratic governor’s political future:
After giving Newsom points for making a liberal political statement, she went on to fret over how such laws might cause harm in the future on other issues.
When Collins went to Toobin and asked if he thought such anti-gun measures would “pass legal muster” with the U.S. Supreme Court, the liberal legal analyst took shots at the right-leaning court: “Well, it depends on how cynical you are about the Supreme Court. because it is very much parallel to what the Texas legislature did in passing that law. And the idea behind all of law is that you’re supposed to treat similarly situated people in similar ways.”
Later in the day, as Wallace hosted, the former Republican turned wacky liberal MSNBC host similarly only had liberal guests to discuss the issue. McQuade cheered on the Democratic governor:
She soon declared that the court’s conservative justices “have no integrity,” leading Wallace to lavish praise on her liberal guest: “Barbara, you are blowing my mind. You are the straightest of the straightest shooters that come on this show.”
CNN’s New Day
December 13, 2021
7:21 a.m. Eastern
CAITLIN COLLINS, FILL-IN CO-HOST: California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, is promising he’ll implement gun control measures in his state by copying the legal tactics used by Texas to enact what is essentially a ban on abortion. The Supreme Court has let Texas go forward with a law that allows private citizens across the state to sue anyone who helps someone more than six weeks pregnant to get an abortion. And in a statement, Newsom said, in part, “California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”
Mara, just to look at the bigger picture of this, and the argument that he is making is essentially that, if Texas can do this and use the law with this legal wording this way, we’re going to use it in a different measure.
MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, PODCAST HOST: Yeah, so this is a smart political move for him. He’s getting applauded as someone who’s taking the fight to the enemy for this week. He may get gun reform out of it. And it’s raising his national profile. And, as someone who reportedly is eyeing a future presidential run, that’s important.
But if you zoom out a little bit and you look at the bigger picture, the idea that states would apply the legal mechanism that was used in to then go against other rights is something that, frankly, is quite terrifying because let’s look at what’s happening in Texas right now. You have a constitutionally protected right — abortion — which women in Texas for the last three months have been stripped of. And the abortion providers essentially have no one to sue over it, basically, because enforcement of that restriction has been outsourced to private citizens as bounty hunters.
So if this mechanism is then applied across the board, what other rights are potentially on the chopping block? And this is so alarming that, in his opinion last week, Chief Justice Roberts — who, to remind everyone, is himself a conservative — begged his colleagues not to make the decision that they made because of the precedent this would set, undermining the court’s own authority.
COLLINS: And so, according to this and this framing this, plaintiffs would then be able to sue firearms manufacturers, potentially be awarded $10,000 plus attorney’s fees for that. Does this really have legal muster?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it depends on how cynical you are about the Supreme Court. because it is very much parallel to what the Texas legislature did in passing that law. And the idea behind all of law is that you’re supposed to treat similarly situated people in similar ways. But — so, in that respect, you would think, “Well, if the Supreme Court is consistent, they would uphold this effort.”
However, if you were cynical about the Supreme Court, you would think, “They don’t like abortion, but they do like gun rights, so they would figure out a way to uphold the Texas restriction on abortion, but reject Newsom’s effort to restrict gun rights. Personally, I’m pretty cynical about the court, and I think they’ll find a way to strike this down.
COLLINS: Well, and this does reflect anger, though, that Democrats have over what’s been happening with the Texas law and how the Supreme Court has been handling that. And we’ve seen other states try to take measures to enact similar laws. Do you expect more of that? Or what do you think in your looking at this from a big picture, kind of, the precedent that it sets?
SCHIAVOCAMPO: I think that is the issue, is the precedent. You know, you see right now what’s happening with Newsom is getting a lot of applause for this move. People are saying, “Finally, someone is using the tactics of the right, and is turning it against them.” But, from a principled perspective, it really does present a problem because you have to ask yourself: “What other constitutional rights can a state decide that they just simply don’t like?”
MSNBC’s Deadline: White House
December 13, 2021
4:44 p.m. Eastern
NICOLLE WALLACE: If vigilantism gets a green light from the United States Supreme Court, why not use it on the other side of the ideological policy making sort of factory in the United States of America to do things like use that as a work around? I think Justice Sotomayor called it a flagrant work around — end around — but why not use it for good to take guns off the street?
BARBARA McQUADE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I agree with you, Nicolle. I think this is what happens when you allow the ends to justify the means. If a blue state is interested in doing things like making it illegal to possess weapons, they could do it for any constitutional right. A state could take away due process rights before they take away your property. They could make it illegal to speak out against the government, all of those things.
Even Chief Justice John Roberts — who is certainly no liberal, no fan of abortion rights — wrote in his opinion last week that you can’t look at the nature of the right involved. What you have to look at is the rule of the Supreme Court. And we are allowing states to completely usurp the role of the courts. And so now we see Gavin Newsom doing just that. I say, “More power to him.”
WALLACE: What do you — so do you think the Supreme Court remains totally silent on vigilantism as an enforcement mechanism?
McQUADE: I think one of the problems with the Supreme Court is that they don’t care about hypocrisy. And so I think if this case comes up on gun rights, I think they will have no problem smacking it down on vigilantism but finding some bizarre way to distinguish this from the SBA case. If there’s one thing that the era of Donald Trump has brought us, it is the absence of shame. Mitch McConnell did it when he refused to vote on Merrick Garland, but then coasted through when it was time to bring in Amy Coney Barrett.
There is no shame in hypocrisy, and so I think the court will see gun rights as a very different right. “This one is actually expressed in the text of the Constitution as opposed to abortion rights which are merely implied.” They’ll find some, you know, tiny grain on which to distinguish it because they have no integrity.
WALLACE: Barbara, you are blowing my mind. You are the straightest of the straightest shooters that come on this show. Tell me how you see — do you see the U.S. Supreme Court the way Justice Sotomayor does as not being able to ever evade the stench of sort of upholding a law that was only crafted — so say the legislators who proposed it in the Mississippi state house — because of who was appointed to the court.
CLAIRE McCASKILL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And I think Barbara’s right on one thing. The hypocrisy here is astounding, and we typically don’t think of the Supreme Court — you know, every once in a while, someone on the Supreme Court surprises us by making a decision that would not be expected based on the politics of the President who appointed them. I’m afraid those days of surprise are over. I think we know everybody but Roberts is in the tank for the right-wing extreme views, and I think this vigilantism is going to catch on.
I’ll tell you what’s going to happen next, Nicolle. These red states are going to do vigilante law on immigration, and they’re going to empower citizens to go out and round up people they think look like foreigners. and that’s what we’re coming to in this country, and it is incredibly depressing.