Transcript for Roundtable I: This Week in Politics
Let's bring in the rest of the roundtable. Newark mayor cory booker, matthew dowd, katrina vanden heuvel and jeff zeleny. Welcome to you. Great to have you here. Let's talk about gay marriage first, and it certainly appeared that a lot of the justices may have been looking for a way out on this proposition 8. You want us to step in and render a decision based on assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the internet? We have five years of information to weigh against 2,000 years of history or more. If the issue is letting the states experiment and letting the society have more time to figure out its direction, why is taking a case now the answer? And, matthew dowd, it's perilous to try to read decisions into questions from the justices. There did seem to be a lot of discomfort on the part of the justices by stepping into this case as this nationwide movement is starting to grow. To me, it's surprising that the supreme court is that actually far out of tune where the country is, a majority of the country supports same-sex marriage, a vast majority of country. The country is more evolved and more consistent on this issue than any other social issue that has come before the supreme court. More than it was on interracial marriage. Only 20% of people supported interracial marriage in 1967. More on this than civil rights and abortion. I don't understand why the supreme court seems reluctant to weigh in an issue where the country is already -- it could be that more than 30 states are banning gay marriage. I would be opposed to gay marriage. Even if I supported it, I don't think the supreme court should be making that decision. It should work its way through state legislation. Through congress, perhaps. Again, we should have full equalities, as far as finances and as far as other issues. We don't know what all of the consequences could be that are unintended right now. Ruth bader ginsburg said that it could have been a mistake roe v wade. Pro-choice perspective because it took it away for the legislators. Look, this is an anguished reality. Where we have a second-class citizenship for millions and millions of americans that are denied over a thousand laws. Thank god that we didn't wait for the states on women, equality, african-american equality. This to me, is clearly, we know, as king said, the arc of a moral universe. It seems as if, that the case came to the supreme court in the first place because the most conservative justices thought that this might be their last chance to hold a line. Justice delayed is justice denied. I think the supreme court is lagging so far behind now, that marriage equality has won in the country. The only thing that you and rush limbaugh agree on. It's moving in states and politically. I think you have seen perhaps the most rapid mass evolution on an issue among our politicos. They know where the future of this country is. It's qualifier to win a next generation. Whatever happens in the court and it may well be that kennedy -- justice kennedy's consuming affection for state rights does lead to overruling doma. I think we're going to see social, moral and political paradigm shifts that are extraordinary. We already saw a glimpse this week, not only at the court, jeff, you had six democratic senators, right here, flip on the issue on same-sex marriage, just this week alone, and that prompted a comment from the bench, from chief justice roberts. You don't doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same-sex marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you? With respect to that category, that categorization of the term for purposes of heightened scrutiny I would, your honor. Really? Yes. Pointed commentary from the chief justice. He also seemed almost scornful of president obama, he said, for trying to have it both ways on the defensive marriage act. Democrats are not doing this because they have suddenly come to this position. Most of them believed that already. In fact, it's dangerous for them not to do it. So the question here is -- even in the red states? Well, for democrats, it probably is, but the thing that I'm really looking for going ahead here, on the republican side, when does this start to become okay to switch your position, and I'm looking at the donor class, there are more and more donors. He doesn't care about same-sex marriage. Some other super pac contributors are supportive of this on the republican side. Hold on, are you feeling that change among your supporters? There's change out there. No doubt about it. I think, by the way, this sounds naive, should be addressed in a nonpolitical way. I mean, my concerns is, changing an institution that quickly, just because you have six senators switching last week, polls reversing in eight, nine years, again, we have to look at the consequences of changing the institution. George, I want to talk about that first is, this issue is changing already. People developed this myth about 2004 that gay marriage had an effect. I was there. They had no effect on the ballot. This issue has been changing for a while. The argument to me, that this is an institution, a traditional institution for 2,000, 3,000 years, ignores the fact that the institution that, if you want to go to traditional marriage, it wasn't monogamous, women was property ay couldn't give consent. That was the traditional view of marriage for 2,000 years. Marriage has evolved over the course of time. This is just another evolution. Year sensitive to -- the decision is not evolving. Same-sex marriage is very, very important part of lgbt equality, but it's not the only part. I do think some attention should be paid in congress to reviving the federal, nondiscriminational employment act. Which was introduced last year, because fbi numbers show a rise in hate crimes against gays. And there are at least 20 states in the country where there is still discrimination. The marriage piece is important. But I don't think it should consume the full attention. Finally, the court has lagged behind as cory noted on many issues. It lagged behind on brown versus board. I think there should be a nod to the extraordinary progression where the president spoke of in his inaugural. It took activists and organizing and personal stories, seen in their own lives. The reflection of bigotry. You can't say you're bang it on polls and public opinion. Then you have a referendum in california which was adopted by a solid majority of the people. There's still a conflict. I respect that. I also think it's an urban myth THAT MYTHOLOGY THAT ROE v. Wade elicited a backlash. Linda greenhouse wrote a book, before roe v wade, very clearly the right wing was appearing to use abortion to realign the political parties. They did. Liberal justice, ginsburg. I respect her views. But there are difference of views. This is a story of america, expanding rights. 8 in 10 americans born since 1980 support gay marriage. So, we see -- one thing that you don't see moving in the president's direction since the inaugural is support for his proposals on gun control. And the president took issue with that this weekend and got quite emotional when he was talking about it. Less than 100 days ago happened. And the entire country was shot. The entire country pledged we would do something about it and this time it would be different. Shame on us if we have forgotten. I haven't forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we have forgotten. Look at the latest poll from cbs. Support for gun control in december 2012, 57% for new gun control laws. Stricter gun control laws. Now, down to 47 .Cory booker, so shame on you? Shame on us, because the tragedies haven't stopped. There are still thousands of americans who are being murdered every single day. We had an innocent man in my city injured by a handgun that didn't come from within our state. This is very problematic when you have majority of the people, 90 prkt of people, 80% of gun owners agree on sensible gun reforms that would stop the carnage. You're talking background checks? I'm talking background checks, punishments against purchases. sure. Imagine the tsa, we're not going to check 40% of the people that board our planes. That's what we're doing right now. A terrorist in our country can go to certain areas of our country and buy weapons. Americans are in agreement on this. Where is this going in the house, congressman? We have seen republican senators who say that they're going to filibuster -- I supported the president's position on guns. Having said that, it's going to be very difficult to legislation through -- despite what the mayor was saying -- a majority of americans don't seem to want this type of legislation. I support it. I'm, again, for background checks, gun trafficking, assault weapons, all that. I don't see the attention building up. That's what you're seeing in the senate right now? And this is senate democrats. You can go down the lists of democrats who are up for re-election in 2014 who are not supportive of anything beyond background checks. The president is talking a lot. At the courthouse was a big moment, going out on the p this week to talk about this as well. But, behind the scenes, they realize that the assault weapons bans and other things are nonstarter. And the fight is not over. You cite your the cbs. Cite your own poll. When asked about universal background checks, 90% support that. How many things in america do 90% of americans support? Listen, in the collective, in our collective grief over newtown, we thought things would move in this congress. This congress doesn't move very well. It took five years to pass the BRADY BILL IN THE '90s. So, I think you're seeing movement, responsible gun owners are being peeled away from the nra. You're seeing movement. Your seeing a movement. You're seeing money come in. WHICH DIDN'T EXIST IN THE '90s. The movement, I think, will play A ROLE AS IT DID IN THE '90s TO Slay this beast. We'll see movement and it will force a vote on certain amendments. Even if you don't get the assault -- military-style assault weapons. I live in texas, living in the heart of gun ownership, i think what happens in these situations, yes, there's a huge part of the country that supports various things, background checks, high-capacity clips, the country supports, but I think what happens is, there's a sense of people in the middle of the country that there's some elite trying to tell us what to do. Yes, we need to protect our children. But some mayor out there is trying to tell us what to do. Mayor bloomberg's effort actually hurts? When he goes too far out of the way here's what's best for you, here's a reasonable approach -- this is what's going to save lives. I think all of that can pass. The problem in washington, d.C., they're traditionally afraid of their own shadow. The nra has become a myth in washington. The nra isn't as powerful as everybody thinks. The people in washington think it is. If they pass reasonable gun restrictive measures, the country will support it. Look at 2014. But the reality is, mayor bloomberg has joined with the coalition of mayors, there are hundreds of us -- republicans, democrats and independents -- who have joined the coalition, what we have said, commonsense rules and regulations. The nra has done a wonderful job of obscuring this issue. Those senators that you said aren't against background checks. We have background checks right now. And I support strict background checks. Was the real opposition, people don't want it reported. Or among friends. That's often where krilal guns are handed down. I support it. The question is, from marriage equalit this, do you believe in america is greater than the power -- it has shifted dramatically to protect and affirm rights. One issue that's moving in congress immigration reform. We only have a couple of minutes left. Jeff, there does appear to be a breakthrough on this issue on a proposal just this weekend? This is a big deal. One of the key sticking points here. Unions, big labor has always been opposed to this. There was an agreement reached friday night between the labor coalition and the business coalition over the guest worker program. They're taking it back to the gang of eight. Senator marco rubio released a statement just this morning and he is saying that this sounds good, but hold on a little bit. Conservatives and republicans are slightly uneasy that this is being pushed through. This is a big deal. When congress comes back next week, one of these big immigration -- political suicide for the republicans if they don't really go along with immigration. I mean, as you head into 2014, the republicans have been big problems on immigration, on same-sex marriage, on commonsense gun reform. Only 30 seconds left. The republican leadership seems to have gotten this message in both the house and I think the senate. It's take an series of elections to get that message. The fact is, the fastest rising group in this country is latinos. They understand they have to do something. They're trying to keep their base happy. They know they have to do something. And border security. Eight guys in a room saying the border is going to be secure, is not enough. For 27 years they haven't been able to secure the border. I'm for immigration. I dwru up in an immigrant neighborhood. Border security is real. It's not some made-up issue. There are immigrants in our country who are being abused by unscrupulous employees. Violating their rights. Victims of crime in immigrants are targeted. They're afraid to come forward and report the crimes. That will have to be the last word. Thank you all very much. We'll be right back.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.