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This is a rush transcript of “Fox News Sunday” on September 12, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
President Biden faces a barrage of legal challenges to his sweeping vaccinate mandates, impacting tens of millions of Americans.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.
WALLACE (voice-over): As the delta variant surges, the latest offensive in the fight against COVID faces pushback from Republicans, accusing the White House of big government overreach.
GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: I’ll fight to protect my people and to defend their freedoms.
GOV. PETE RICKETTS (R), NEBRASKA: The president has forgotten we live in America.
BIDEN: These pandemic politics, as I refer to it, are making people sick.
WALLACE: We’ll ask Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts about the battle over federal mandates as the president gets tough with the unvaccinated.
Then, our exclusive sit-down with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. We ask about calls for Breyer to step down while Democrats still control the White House and Senate.
Why didn’t you retire?
And the push by progressives to pack the court.
What you think of the idea of increasing the number of justices on the court?
Justice Stephen Breyer, only on “FOX News Sunday”.
And — America marks 20 years since the 9/11 attack shook our nation and kicked off the war on terror. Now with the Taliban back in control of Afghanistan, we’ll ask our Sunday panel if there’s a new threat to the homeland.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
WALLACE (on camera): And hello again from FOX News, today from our brand- new studio here in Washington.
On this 20th anniversary weekend of 9/11, I’m sure many of you are still reflecting on that roll call of names we heard again yesterday, people of all races and religions that fell like teardrops on our hearts. It never gets easier, and maybe that’s the point. We’ll have much more on 9/11 20 years out and where we stand in the war on terror later this hour.
But we begin with breaking news. President Biden’s new mandate that millions of workers get vaccinated or test for COVID weekly has created new battle lines in the fight over the virus buried. Amid accusations of federal government overreach, some 19 Republican governors are now threatening to — as one of them put it — fight to the gates of hell.
In a moment, we’ll speak with one of the governors, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska.
But, first, let’s bring in Mark Meredith at the White House with a look at the brewing battle — Mark.
MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Chris, the president insists sweeping new mandates are necessary to convince some 80 million unvaccinated Americans that now is the time to get the shot. But critics argue the president is overstepping his authority and they’re vowing to fight back.
BIDEN: We are playing for real here. This isn’t a game.
MEREDITH (voice-over): President Biden is brushing off looming legal challenges to new vaccine mandates. He says, starting soon, OSHA will require employers with more than 100 people mandate vaccinations or require employees who opt out to undergo weekly testing. More federal workers and contractors will be required to be vaccinated in order to keep their jobs, and the TSA is doubling the minimum fine for travelers who violate the mask mandate.
BIDEN: My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: what more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see?
MEREDITH: But several GOP governors claim the president is going too far, arguing American businesses should not be forced to police employees’
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that.
MEREDITH: The White House admits there are limits to what it can mandate for schools. It’s urging governors require school employees be vaccinated.
In Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest school district, officials going even further. Soon, every student 12 and older will need to be vaccinated to attend in person classes.
MEREDITH (on camera): Tomorrow, the president is going to be hitting the road off to Idaho to get an update on how the government is battling wildfires. Then he’s going to California to campaign for embattled Governor Gavin Newsom, whose recall election, Chris, has been dominated by his response to the pandemic — Chris.
WALLACE: Mark Meredith reporting from the White House — Mark, thank you.
And joining us now, the governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts.
Governor, welcome to “FOX News Sunday”.
GOV. PETE RICKETTS (R), NEBRASKA: Good morning. Thanks for having me on.
WALLACE: I want to start with something that you said this week about President Biden’s new vaccine mandates. Here you are, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICKETTS: The president has forgotten we live in America. He thinks we live in the Soviet Union, and the hypocrisy of this is just unbelievable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, what’s so objectionable about Biden’s vaccine mandates and what are you going do about it?
RICKETTS: Well, first of all, we have been encouraging people to get vaccinated. We’ve been providing information and encouraging people to reach out to their neighbors because vaccines work and they will help people.
But it should be a personal health care choice. This is not something that the government should mandate and somebody shouldn’t have to make the choice between keeping their job and getting a job in the arm. I mean, it’s just wrong. I’ve talked to people, a number of people who have told me if they made me take the vaccine, I’m just going to be fired. I’m not going to
— I’m not going to do it.
WALLACE: But you say it’s a personal choice. In fact, to attend school in your state of Nebraska, children must be vaccinated against a number of diseases.
Let me put them up on the screen. They must be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella, hepatitis b, and chicken pox.
Why are those mandates that parents and your state must comply with and do comply with routinely — why is it that they are not so objectionable and such a violation of personal freedom, but Biden’s vaccine mandates are?
RICKETTS: Well, for all those that you just listed, there’s a long history that parents have had the opportunity to see how those things have been implemented. And there’s still a lot of people out there who don’t know what to trust and in fact this is really an outcome of what the CDC has done because they flip-flopped on so many issues, whether it’s masks, or whether you have to mask if you’ve been vaccinated and so forth. There’s just a lot of people out there who don’t know who to trust right now.
And so, by having the government force it on — you’re not building the trust where we have the heart trust with those other vaccines. This is a process that’s going to take time to bring people along, and that’s why it should be a personal choice and not something mandated by the government buried
WALLACE: But forgive me, sir. I’m old enough that I remember when the polio vaccine first came out, a lot of us and certainly our parents viewed it as a blessing. And immediately — I lived in New York state at that time
— the state mandated that we all get the polio vaccine.
So, you know, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. There is a new vaccine that Donald Trump was largely responsible for. It’s been approved, full approval by the FDA.
Again, if polio vaccine is okay for parents and they have to comply with it to send their kids to school, why not for a lot of people, not just kids, the vaccine for — for this disease?
RICKETTS: Yeah. I think this is very different from polio that has very devastating effects and certainly we know if you’re older, 65 years and older, that’s were 83 percent of our deaths in Nebraska came from, we know this is really devastating. But we also know that nearly 87 percent of our
65 years and older population has been vaccinated and if you’re looking at young children, for example, here in Nebraska, we can look at the data and see that really children are at no more risk for the coronavirus than they are for the ordinary flu.
And so, it’s all about balancing off these risks. And the risk for this is just such where this is something that we shouldn’t be mandating it. Again, the whole goal for all we are doing at least in Nebraska how we’re doing it, is around making sure we’re preserving hospital capacity and we’ve successfully done that here, even without doing statewide mask mandates and without doing vaccine passports.
So let’s keep the objective in mind, which is to be able to provide health care and which we have successfully done here in Nebraska by protecting our hospital capacity and not have the heavy hand of government come in and tell people what to do. They just want to hear it.
WALLACE: President Biden was asked on Friday about leaders, governors like you who say they’re going to challenge him on the vaccine mandates. Here’s what his response was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: Have at it. Look, I am so disappointed that particularly some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Governor, are you being cavalier with the health of your communities?
RICKETTS: What we’re doing is focusing on preserving hospital capacity, which we have successfully done here Nebraska. We’ve got the third — we’re tied for the third lowest mortality rate of any state in the country for people who have contracted COVID-19, and so we protected that hospital capacity to provide that care.
And again, we can look at the data specifically around children and see the risks. At last year in Nebraska, if you were aged 10-19, you were 26 times more likely to die in a car accident than you were of COVID-19.
So, the president should look at the data and maybe the president should attend one of the weekly calls is an administration has with all the governors — he’s not been on one yet since he’s been president — and maybe talk to some of the governors and ask them about what’s going on in their states, because he appears to be pretty ignorant of what’s going on in places like Nebraska.
WALLACE: Let’s talk about the COVID situation in your state, and again, it’s not just about kids, it’s about the entire population. Let me put the stats up on the screen. Back in June, Nebraska was averaging 23 new cases a day. Now with the delta surge, you’re averaging 759 new cases a day.
Governor, that’s the highest since last winter.
RICKETTS: Yeah, and again, what we focus on is preserving our hospital capacity and we have seen a steady increase in hospitalizations throughout the course of this summer. Here in the month of September, the number of hospitalizations has bounced around between suit 379 and then on Friday, it dropped down to 350. So it’s been in that range through most of September.
And that is in contrast to the 987 we had at our peak in November of 2020.
So you can see we’re well below where we reached our peak last year. We did declare a staffing emergency for hospitals to be able to help them manage their folks, you know, to make it easier to bring in nurses and so forth.
But what we focus on is providing the hospital capacity. We set up a transfer center to be able to move people around between hospitals statewide and all that to make sure we’re protecting the hospital capacity.
And that’s our guiding star here in Nebraska. And we’ve done a very successfully, as I indicated with our success in keeping people, you know, from dying from this disease.
WALLACE: I want — I want to talk to about that, because I looked into the situation, the stress on hospital staffing and hospital beds and the fact is, on September 1st, you announced your state was opening a hospital transfer center that would allow patients to be moved around in case there wasn’t enough staff or beds in one place.
You also have directed health measures to limit elective surgeries. And one of your top health officials says, the fact is there isn’t enough room in your hospitals by the end of each day for high-level care.
RICKETTS: Actually what we’ve done is move the people around if we needed to, that’s what the transfer center is for, to make it easier for hospitals who want to move a patient to get more acute care, to be able to officially move that person into hospital.
This primarily happens when you’ve got, say, a more rural hospital settings, that may not have all the facilities that maybe some of our urban centers do, and allow them to officially get that to the right hospital.
And certainly, we are encouraging people to continue to get vaccinated as part of this, but we’re managing our hospital capacity very successfully here in this state with the tools that we have provided the staffing emergency.
WALLACE: So, I asked your question at the top, I ask you why it was so objectionable, you answer that. You didn’t answer the other question. Let’s finish with that, what are you going to do about President Biden’s vaccine mandates?
RICKETTS: Yeah. So I’ve been talking to my attorney general. He’s coordinating with the other attorneys general across the country who share similar views about the overreach. This is an egregious overreach of federal authority.
And as we see what these rules are, we will be able to know exactly how we will be able to challenge them in court. I’m also talking with my colleagues around the country as well, the other governors who feel the way I do, and we’ll be working on other strategies.
But I’ve got to tell you, I have heard from so many workers, so many small businesses who say this is just not going to be something they can handle.
So many people told me they’re just going to be fired if they’re forced to take the vaccine. This is really going to create huge problems for all small businesses and for our American workers.
And again, you shouldn’t have to make the choice of keeping your job or getting a job in the arm.
WALLACE: Very briefly, you say you’re going to court. Any idea how soon?
RICKETTS: Well, when we get an idea of what these rules exactly will be, we’ll know how to be able to attack it in court.
WALLACE: Governor Ricketts, thank you. Thanks for your time today. Please come back, sir.
RICKETTS: Great. Thanks very much for having me on, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss the Biden demonstration’s battle with some governors over vaccine mandates as well as its fight with Texas over that state’s new abortion law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you.
GOV. TATE REEVES (R), MISSISSIPPI: You would expect words like that from the president may be of communist China or North Korea.
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Scolding and condescending to Americans, dripping with scorn that somehow this is their fault that they’ve been infected with a virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Sharp pushback from Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and Senator Tom Cotton to President Biden’s announcement the federal government will impose a vaccine mandate on businesses with more than 100 employees.
And it’s time now for our Sunday group, GOP strategist Karl Rove, Susan Page of “USA Today,” and Charles Lane for “The Washington Post.”
So, Karl, what do you think of the president’s new vaccine mandates both as a matter of policy and as a matter of politics?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, the question is where does the authority exist to impose this? It’s one thing to say, as the president of the United States, I’m going to require that all federal employees and members of the military and federal contractors get it, it’s unclear to me where the authority comes to apply this to all employers with more than 100. He’s doing this under a 50-year-old law that allows the OSHA at the Department of Labor to put in place an emergency temporary standard.
This is been done nine times in 50 years. In three instances, it was relatively modest and wasn’t challenged in court, but in six instances, the ETS was challenged in court and lost five times.
I think the president is doing this because he’s afraid to go to Congress and ask for a law that gives him the authority to do this. Yes, we ought to get vaccinated. Yes, private companies have the ability to say to their employees, “you have to take the vaccine or test or you don’t have a job”.
But I don’t think the federal government has the authority under law to do what the president is talking about.
WALLACE: Susan, there’s no question that the president’s standing in the polls have slipped as the delta variant has spiked and there’s also no question if you look at the polls that Democrats are overwhelmingly in favor of vaccine mandates. So is it your sense that the White House feels one, this is the way to deal with the real problem that they are getting hit on, and in addition, whether they win or lose, it’s a good fight to pick with Republican governors like Pete Ricketts?
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: Well, the White House insisted they have firm legal standing to take the steps, but the fact is the bigger threat to Joe Biden and his presidency is not accusations of government overreach, it’s a failure, it would be a failure to get this pandemic under control. That is the issue that elected him president and it is job one for his administration.
And clearly, the administration has had more trouble than they expected in convincing the vaccine reluctant to go ahead and get a shot, so I think what they’ve decided to do is what David Axelrod says is getting caught trying. That you’re better off trying to do something sweeping to get this pandemic under control even at the risk of court challenges from all these Republican governors.
WALLACE: Chuck, as our Supreme Court watcher, how strong do you think the president’s case is that through OSHA, which says that it can establish emergency rules to make a safe workplace, that they have the authority to do this? I have to say in the last week, I’ve been reading up on the 1905 case of Jacobson v. Massachusetts where Cambridge’s Massachusetts was able to order, according to the court, an individual to get a vaccination for smallpox.
Does the federal government and Joe Biden, do they have the authority to do this?
CHARLES LANE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that precedent is very much on point and has influenced the courts recent limited rulings on various public health measures related to the pandemic. The difference in that case, of course, was that it was a state law that directly authorized or rather required this vaccine. What we’re talking about here and Karl went through it a little bit before, is something a little more attenuated, working through OSHA to require employers to require.
I think in all of this, there hasn’t been quite enough attention on the fact that there is an alternative for the employee to getting vaccinated, which is submitting to regular testing. And that may help the president’s proposal stand up in court.
But you know, Chris, the one thing I remember from law school is, wait to read the text and we won’t even see the text of this order it seems for several weeks. And it will only be then that we really have something to have a lawsuit about, as Governor Ricketts I think alluded to. So what we are going to have between now and then is a lot of posturing about the legal issues involved, and perhaps a lot more people rushing out to get vaccinated in anticipation of it, but as we sit here today, we still don’t know exactly what the rule is going to be.
WALLACE: I want to turn in the time we have left in the segment to another story, and that is that the Justice Department announced this week that it is going to sue the state of Texas over its new abortion law that says that it can ban abortions after six weeks when a fetal heartbeat is detectable, and here was the attorney general of the United States, Merrick Garland, on that. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: This kind of scheme can nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party, should fear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Karl, they’re real questions about whether or not the federal government has what they call in a technical stance standing, whether it’s a legitimate party to sue the state of Texas at this point.
ROVE: I think that’s right, but an abortion provider can, and a woman who finds herself in a situation that’s affected by the law would have standing, but I agree the federal government is more like a political stunt to demonstrated administration is in favor of protecting a woman’s right to abortion under Roe v. Wade.
But I do think that an abortion provider, if they go to court, and there’s one already on its way in Texas, is going to find a juicy target in this enforcement mechanism in which the government does not enforce the law, but it’s instead enforced by private individuals suing in civil court. This is a clever effort to avoid judicial review of this law and it’s why people like Ron DeSantis, very strong pro-life governor of Florida, says we are going to have a fetal heartbeat law but we are knuckling to use the enforcement mechanism that they have in Texas.
And I talked to a number of leaders in the pro-life movement, they are concerned about this enforcement mechanism as well.
WALLACE: Susan, I want to ask you, why would the justice department announced it’s going to sue even before there’s a case, even before that there is a case that we know of where an abortion provider gave a woman and abortion after the six-week deadline, why would they decide to sue so preemptively?
PAGE: So legal ingenuity on both sides with this one. This peculiar and unique law tries to avoid court review by empowering citizens rather than officials to enforce it, and that’s been a real challenge for those who might traditionally be bringing a suit against this law and I think that is why the Justice Department has stepped in. Legal ingenuity on the justice department’s part as well on this.
But a lot of pressure from the president’s political base, which is pro- choice, supports a woman’s right to choose to get involved with this because it is going to be so tricky in the court system, especially in the wake of this Supreme Court decision not to enjoin this law when it was first — when it first reached its docket.
WALLACE: All right, panel. We have to take a break here, we will see a little later in the hour.
With the Supreme Court likely to get embroiled in disputes over vaccine mandates and abortion, up next, my exclusive interview with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. We ask him about adding seats to the court and why he ignored calls to retire.
WALLACE: Coming up, we ask Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer about his future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: What you hope people say about your service on the court?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Our one-on-one exclusive on retirement and packing the court, and more, next.
WALLACE: He’s been a Supreme Court justice for 27 years and is now the target of a new push by liberals who want him to step down so he can be replaced by someone younger. That makes it all the more timely that Stephen Breyer has just come out with a new book called “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics,” where he discusses the very real threat the court will get caught up in today’s polarized debate.
I sat down recently with Justice Breyer for an exclusive one-on-one.
WALLACE: Justice Breyer, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday”.
STEPHEN BREYER, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED
STATES: Thank you.
WALLACE: I want to start with the premise of your book. You quote Alexander Hamilton as saying that the judiciary has neither purse, like Congress, nor sword, like the executive, and so it has to rely on public acceptance for its authority. Is the public acceptance – is the authority, the court, in jeopardy?
BREYER: Hard to say. I mean, I don’t think – I’m an optimist, you know, and so I think, well, people understand, to some degree, why it’s a good idea what Hamilton thought. And he thought the court should be there because there should be somebody – somebody who says when the other two branches of the government have gone outside the confines of that document, who’s that, the president? Well, he was a little worried the president might say whatever he did was right. Congress? Well, some countries do have that. And a member of Congress knows what’s popular. If he didn’t know what was popular, he won’t be there – or she won’t be there for a long time.
But this document is made for unpopular people, just as much as for popular people. So –
WALLACE: I’m curious — I’m curious, do you carry a copy of the Constitution with you, or just for TV?
BREYER: No, not just for TV. It’s always in my pocket, and I hope I will put a jacket on that has one in my pocket, because you never know when somebody’s going to ask a question.
WALLACE: Which brings us to the second half of the title of your book, “The Peril of Politics.” You say that if people come to view judges, justices, as politicians in robes, that that undercuts the authority of the court.
BREYER: To a degree I think it would. I mean junior league politicians.
Hey, if you want to have a politician, let’s have a senior league politician.
WALLACE: One of the most interesting parts of your book, you say at one point it’s wrong to think of the court as a political institution. But then you quickly add, to say that there’s a complete divorce between the court and politics isn’t quite right either.
BREYER: Yes, exactly.
WALLACE: So which is it?
BREYER: When the court – in what I think was one of its, perhaps it’s greatest decision, said the words of this Constitution, which say equal protection of the law, mean that you cannot have racial segregation by law.
When they said that, a few years later a case comes up about marriage between a black man and a white woman. Ha, did they hear that and say it was illegal? Frankfurter said – I believe it was Frankfurter, don’t take it now. Hear the case later.
Why? Because they were having a very, very, very hard time getting the south to accept their ruling. And so they’re interested in that. And Earl Warren, of course, was a great political figure. And I’ve always thought – I have no evidence — but I’ve always thought that his experience in politics there led him to think, let’s not take it now.
Eventually they took it and they said, of course, people of different races can get married. Of course. But that timing – that timing is the kind of thing that, well, the law books don’t teach you that. It’s not there in the tredusis (ph). You see what I mean?
WALLACE: In other words, even the court can’t go too far too fast.
WALLACE: So let’s pursue that.
You say judges should not play politics, they should not push ideology, but they do have different jurist prudential philosophies. And I want to quote you, specifically. You write, “some judges emphasize text and history, some emphasize purposes and consequences.”
But, Justice Breyer, isn’t that a bit of a copout because don’t the judges, the textualist, almost always tilt conservative and don’t the consequences justices — you’ve been accused of being that — generally lean liberal?
BREYER: I don’t know. I mean it’s so easy to say. And there is a recent case involving gay rights — rights in the workplace, not to be fair because of sexual discrimination.
WALLACE: Right. Right, right.
BREYER: That was made up of a group of people, the majority there, who – they included people who emphasized consequences and they included people who emphasized absolutely pure text, you see.
WALLACE: One of your arguments against seeing the court as political is the fact that it refused to ever hear the appeals from the Trump camp about the
2020 election, didn’t even hear them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: No judge has had the courage, including the Supreme Court. I am so disappointed in them. No judge, including the Supreme Court of the United States, has had the courage to allow it to be heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Why was that?
BREYER: Why was it? Because they didn’t bring a case, I guess, that met the normal criteria for being heard. When we decide to take a case, there have to be four votes to take it. So I can’t go beyond that.
What we do know is that there were not four votes to take it because it wasn’t taken. And there are criteria, and if we don’t take a case it’s, you know, I mean the reason was — all likelihood is that the criteria weren’t met.
WALLACE: One of the problems that you discuss in your book is the growing partisanship of the confirmation process.
Back in 1994, you were confirmed by the U.S. Senate 87 to nine.
Question, do you think, in 2021, as a former staffer for Edward M. Kennedy
WALLACE: There’s any chance you would get 87 votes?
BREYER: I know what you’re saying and the answer is, of course, no.
WALLACE: Look at what Senator Mitch McConnell did. In 2016, he refuses to give Merrick Garland even a hearing in the eight months before the election. And then, in 2020, he pushes through Amy Coney Barrett in one month before the election.
Doesn’t that undercut the authority of the court?
BREYER: I was confirmed. And I was nominated. And the confirmation process and the nomination process, well, I say, usually when you ask me about that, and people do, I say it’s like asking for the recipe for Chicken a la King from the point of view of the chicken.
And — and I will say –
WALLACE: I — I — that —
BREYER: Yes, that’s a flip joke.
BREYER: But the truth of the joke is, that’s not — that’s the political environment. Now you may disapprove of it, I may disapprove of it, and if enough people in the public want it to change or be modified one way or the other, it will be.
WALLACE: I interviewed your colleague, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, back in 2012. And I want to play a clip from that interview.
Take a — take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Will you time your retirement so that a more conservative president can appoint a like-minded justice?
ANTONIN SCALIA, FORMER ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ON U.S. SUPREME COURT: I would not like to be replaced by someone who immediately sets about undoing everything that I’ve tried to do for 25 years, 26 years, sure. But I mean, I shouldn’t have to tell you that, unless you think I’m a fool.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Do you agree with Scalia that a justice who is unmindful of the politics of the president who replaces him, who’s unmindful of that, is a fool?
BREYER: I intend to die on the court. I don’t think I’ll be there forever.
But — but I’ve — I’ve said a few of the considerations previously and I –
– I think —
WALLACE: But do you think the consideration that Scalia mentioned, I don’t want to be replaced by somebody who’s going to undo everything that I’ve spent —
BREYER: That I’ve done? That I’ve — undo everything I’ve done?
BREYER: I see the point. And probably, in your background, there’s — can be something there. There are many considerations. Many, many considerations.
WALLACE: This brings us to the calls for you to step down while a Democratic president and a Democratic — can appoint your successor and a Democratic Senate can confirm your successor. Here’s one example of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): He makes his own decision about if he’s going to retire. But he’s going — if he’s going to retire, it should be sooner rather than later if you are concerned about the court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: What do you think of those calls?
BREYER: Well, I think that they’re entitled to their opinion. I think they
— and not only they understand the political world much better than I, or they understand it pretty well. And there we are. What else to want me to say?
WALLACE: They would say you ignored those calls and increased the chances that a Republican Senate will be there to confirm your success.
BREYER: Well, I mean, there are factors. There are many factors. In fact, quite a few. And the role of the court and so forth is one of them and the situation, the institutional considerations are some and — and I — I believe — I can’t say I’d take anything perfectly into account, but in my own mind I — I think about those things.
WALLACE: So why didn’t you retire?
BREYER: I didn’t retire because I had decided on balance I wouldn’t retire.
WALLACE: President Biden has appointed a commission to come back to him in November and discuss — weigh in on possible reforms to the court.
What do you think of the idea of increasing the number of justices on the court?
BREYER: Well, if one party could do it, I guess another party could do it.
And the more thing — I mean it’s fairly surface — on the surface it seems to me you start changing all these things around, and people will lose trust in the court.
WALLACE: What about term limits? People, even justices, live a lot longer now than they did back in the 18 century. Would it lower the political heat if, say, a justice served for 18 years instead of a life term?
BREYER: Well, I think you could do that. It should be a very long term because you don’t want the judge who’s holding that term to start thinking about his next job. But it would make life easier for me.
WALLACE: You just turned 83 years old. I’ve got to say, you look terrific.
You’re of sound mind and body.
BREYER: Thank you. Thank you.
WALLACE: What do you hope people say about your service on the court?
BREYER: The best thing they could say, I thought I liked very much, is it has an appeal to me, was what Thurgood Marshall said. And they said, well, what do you want on your tombstone? And he said, he did his best. That’s it.
I’m there for everybody. I’m not just there for the Democrats. I’m not just there for the Republicans. And I’m not just there because a president was a Democrat who appointed me. It’s a very great privilege to be in that job.
And part of it is to remember that you’re there for everyone. They won’t like what you say half the time or more, but you’re still there for them.
And that’s the privilege of the job in a way. You have to give your all.
And you have to work as hard as you can.
So, you see, I think it’s important we have trust.
WALLACE: The name of the book is “The Authority of the Court and the Peril of Politics.”
Justice Breyer, thank you.
BREYER: Thank you very much, Chris. Thank you.
WALLACE: Up next, 20 years after 9/11, the Taliban is back in charge in Afghanistan. Where do we stand with the terror threat from overseas and security risks here in the U.S.?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peter Paul Apollo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Faustino Apostal, Jr.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joe, we love and miss you more than you could ever imagine. Our son is the spitting image of you. He lights up my world every day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They prayed, they voted on a course of action and then
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Some of the sights and sounds from observant ceremonies at Ground Zero, Shanksville, and the Pentagon 20 years after the day that changed this country forever.
And we’re back now with the panel.
Karl, I have to say, watching those ceremonies 20 years after the fact, it is still deeply emotional. I’m sure it was for all three of you as well.
But, Karl, as somebody who was in the White House that terrible day, it still packs a punch, doesn’t it?
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It sure does. It packs a big punch.
WALLACE: Your thoughts, your remembrances of that day and — and looking back on it now from the vantage point of 20 years?
ROVE: Well, I must admit, I feel sorrow and loss every time this day rolls around. But this year I feel angry because for 20 years we kept America safe by projecting our power abroad and fighting them over there so we didn’t have to fight them here. And now this September 11th was celebrated in Kabul by the Taliban, the people who gave Osama bin Laden sanctuary in Afghanistan and allowed him to launch his attacks on our country.
The new prime minister of Afghanistan was the foreign minister in 2001. And when we said to him, surrender Osama bin Laden or suffer the consequences, he told us to pound sand. The interior minister has a $10 million bounty by the United States on his head for having participated in the 2006 attack in Kabul that killed six Americans. His uncle, another member of the Haqqani Network, is a refugee minister, which allows him to provide cover for foreign terrorists to come into Afghanistan and receive documents, and he has a $5 million bounty on his head.
So we took Afghanistan, which was, you know, which was trying to be a modern nation, respected human lights, allowed women to be educated and work, and we surrendered it. And General Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was accurate the other day when he said that within 12 months, 24 months, 36 month, Afghanistan will be — there will be, quote, a resurgence of terrorism because of what has happened in Afghanistan.
WALLACE: Yes, I want to pick up on that in a moment, but one news development this week is that some Americans did get out of Afghanistan, either on charter flights to Qatar or over land, and the Biden administration is having to walk a tight rope in talking about how it is dealing with the Taliban.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: Our engagement with the Taliban and with a government, interim or long-term, will be for purposes of advancing the national interest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Susan, this is a tricky issue for President Biden and his team. On the one hand, they do, as a matter of reality, have to do business with the Taliban, but they also have to be clear-eyed about who these guys really are.
SUSAN PAGE, “USA TODAY”: Yes, and they are being extremely cautious in the words they say now because we are continuing to try to get a handful of remaining American citizens who want to evacuate from Afghanistan, and other endangered Afghans who have been allies of ours during this long war.
But the fact is, this administration, while it’s not likely to recognize the Taliban as a government, is going to have to deal with the Taliban as the people in charge of Afghanistan, and that is going to become more and more difficult if we see video of women being beaten in the streets and reprisals against Afghans who helped us during that war. This is an issue that is not over for the Biden administration. It may just get more complicated.
WALLACE: And then, Chuck, there is, as Karl mentioned, the terror issues, the Pentagon and General Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, they are now talking about having to reassess — and reassess is a nice word — to say upgrade the terror threat that comes from Afghanistan.
And then there’s also this issue of — President Biden likes to talk about, oh, we can handle the terror threat from over the horizon, which means without anybody within hundreds or even thousands of miles of Afghanistan.
But in the last terror strike, drone strike, rather, of the U.S. war, the
20 year war in Afghanistan, I want to put this up on the screen. There’s reporting now that our final drone strike in Afghanistan, that we were saying at the time supposedly took out a vehicle filled with explosives and armed by ISIS-K, may instead have killed 10 innocents, including seven children.
So — so, Chuck, this idea that we’re going to be able to effectively fight al Qaeda or ISIS-K or whomever from over the horizon, it’s not going to be that simple.
CHARLES LANE, “THE WASHINGTON POST” AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: That story couldn’t be more tragic. “The Washington Post” also covered it.
It turns out that it’s very likely that was not a car bomb in preparation but, if you can believe it, and aid mission being led by somebody who had an outstanding application to come to the United States. And, of course, it illustrates that the intelligence must have been, if those stories are true, must have been terribly flawed. And it goes to the point about what we have given up by leaving Afghanistan, namely that on the ground, in- country presence, including the support of a friendly government, indeed a dependent government, to make sure that our intelligence is more accurate.
On the subject, it leads you to the atmosphere that surrounded all those terribly moving moments yesterday. How different it might have felt if either we had not left Afghanistan yet or if the departure had gone more smoothly and more nobly. Of course, I think that’s what President Biden had in mind when he embarked on the withdrawal of coming to this date in a much more celebratory mood. But, instead, we’re left to contemplate a lot of these dilemmas that will — that will linger. And that, I think, must have contributed — certainly did in what I saw — to the — to the feeling of melancholy and frustration that did prevail all day yesterday.
WALLACE: Karl, I’ve got about a minute left. The Biden administration talks about hoping to resettle 95,000 Afghans in this country, but there’s quite a debate, especially among Republicans about whether or not we have adequate vetting to bring 95,000 Afghan refugees into this country safely.
ROVE: Well, it’s going to be a difficult task. On a lot of people we do have good vetting. On some people we don’t. You will see recently that I think it was 44 Afghans who — who made it to the U.S. were returned abroad because the vetting showed that they were problematic. But we have a moral obligation to stand with those who stood with us.
I have a friend who was in and out of Afghanistan a lot. He had a number of interpreters He was attempting to get one of his interpreters out, not in Kabul, but he didn’t get him out because the Taliban took him into custody, brought all of his family together, brought together witnesses and then killed him in front of his family before killing every member of his family except the 10-year-old daughter, who was given to a Taliban warrior as an arranged bride. That’s what we need to stand — why we need to stand with the people of Afghanistan.
WALLACE: Pretty clear that our involvement and engagement with Afghanistan is not over after these 20 years.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, a look at the raid that killed the mastermind of 9/11, including the terrifying moment where a faltering helicopter forced the team to change its plans just as they reached the compound.
WALLACE: As we’ve said, this weekend marks that moment 20 years ago when enemies carried out the worst terror attack in the history of our country.
But it’s also just over ten years since the U.S. brought the battlefield back to Pakistan and took out the architect of that terrible day.
That’s the subject of my new book, “Count Bin Laden: The Untold Story of the 247 Day Hunt to Bring the Mastermind of 9/11 to Justice.” It takes you behind the scenes of the special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden from the perspective of the intelligence, political, and military professionals who pulled it off.
And, tonight, you’ll hear directly from many of them in a new documentary, “Countdown Bin Laden.”
Here’s a brief look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: We were tracking the helicopters and realized that they were now over the compound.
I think everybody understood that this was the critical moment, because I –
– once they hear those helicopters, you’ve got about 90 seconds to be able to rappel down and go in before bin Laden is truly alerted to what’s happening.
WALLACE (voice over): But the plan they had practiced so many times went south quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was looking on the big screens there as the helicopter came in and I could see it start to waffle.
WALLACE: The lead Black Hawk fought to maintain control, then hit the wall of the compound.
PANETA: I immediately said to Bill McRaven, I said what the hell is happening? And Bill didn’t miss a beat. He basically said, look, we’ve got a backup helicopter coming in. We’re going ahead with the mission. They’re going to rappel and go in through the walls. This mission is going on. And I remember saying, God bless you. Let’s do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our pilot realized in an instant, well, if he can’t hover, I can’t hover. So you’re not going to the roof. And I remember getting out. I remember my first foot on the ground. And I just thought to myself, well, I guess we start the war from here then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You can watch “Countdown Bin Laden” tonight on 10:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox News Channel. And after it airs, you can stream it anytime on foxnation.com.
My book, which tells the full story, is out now, available online and in stores.
And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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