Cory Booker - Achieving Equal Justice Under the Law

July 29, 2016 - Cory Booker 07/29/2016 Views: 1,164

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker reflects on his DNC speech and explains how racial and institutional discrimination affect mass incarceration rates. (4:50)

Watch Full Episode

Please welcomeSenator Cory Booker.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

-Welcome, sir.-Thank you very much.

-Good to have you here.-Good to be on.

Good to have youon the show again.

Thank you for being here.

What an exciting weekthis has been.

It was really, really exciting.

I mean, for a lot of reasons.

But if-if you wantto get out of the partisanship,

we, America, have doneanother major breakthrough

with putting a womanas the head of a major party.

-It's incredible.-(cheering, applause)

You often hear people talkingabout, uh, ladies' night,

but this wasladies' week, really.

I mean, women were coming outand crushing it.

-Can I be honest? I felt badfor you, because... -Yeah.

No, no, I'll tell you why.

You had a phenomenal speech.

-But... but... -Yes.-(cheering, applause)


On the same night,Michelle Obama had her speech.

Yes. You know it's bad whenyou meet up with your mother

afterwards and they run up toyou and I think she's gonna say

"Great speech" and she goes,"Did you hear Michelle Obama?"

It... What does it feel liketo be a part of that?

You know, you're experiencingthe evening, you're experiencing

this positive message.What is it like when you're

actually in the eye of-ofeverything that's happening?

Well, I was one of those kidsthat watched the conventions

growing up, and I rememberthese epic, iconic speeches,

like Mario Cuomo and others.

And when you're standing there,backstage, and you know

you're about to go up,it's a really powerful,

very humbling, uh, experience.And then, you know,

you're not just speakingto Democrats in that arena,

you're really speakingto the country.

You are one of the mainproponents of, uh,

criminal justice reform.

-Thank you for bringing it up.-Right. You...

(audience cheers)

You are supporting, uh,you know, the release

of low-level drug offenders,people who are nonviolent,

but it was interesting becausenow you have come up against

"the anecdotal,"which-which is still

an emotional connectionthat people have.

I think it was, uh, Tom Cottonwho came out and said,

look at this low-leveldrug offender who was released

from prison and then wentand killed, uh, you know,

his ex-girlfriendand-and-and children.

How do you work with that?

How do you, how do you engagewith someone in a conversation

where you go, I don't dismisswhat you are saying,

but this cannot be the onlymessage that we use

when trying to move forward.

How-how do you think you willmove that conversation forward?

So, two things, first, you don'tfall in the Donald Trump trap.

Um, to be strong,you don't have to be mean.

To be tough,you don't have to be cruel.

You look at your opponent onthe other side of the aisle...

(applause, cheering)

...and you-you work.

Look, I'm either going to workwith you,

or I'm going to builda coalition so strong

that we're going to getthis done.

And what's going on in Americaright now

is so contrary to who we say weare, "The land of the free."

We are a nationwith five percent

of the globe's population,

but one in every fourincarcerated people,

person's on the planet Earth,are in our nation.

And disproportionatelyfor drug crimes.

Remember, we have more peopleincarcerated for drugs

in America now than just about

all the people incarceratedin 1975.

This drug war has been a brutal,uh, explosion of our...

of our... 500% increase

-in our prison population.-Yeah.

And the peoplewe're incarcerating...

Uh, at college, at Stanford,

people were breaking drug lawsall the time.

Whites and blacks breakdrug laws equally,

but blacks are about 3.7 timesmore likely

-to be arrested for it.-(applause)

The people in our jailfor these crimes

are-are poor folks,mentally ill folks,

drug addicted folks, anddisproportionately brown folks.

And so, when you have peoplebeing arrested today

for doing things thatthe last two presidents

-admitted to doing...-Wow.

And very serious.

-Eh, read President Obama'sbooks. -Yeah.

-It wasn't just marijuana.-Yeah.

These were felony crimeshe admitted to.

Uh, George Bush,whole lot of felony crimes,

-uh, going on there.-(laughing)

And, and, and yet,when-when I was gr...

You know, my parents hadto fight a court case

to be the first black familyto integrate the town.

I watched my peersbreak drug laws,

but nobody was stoppingand frisking folks coming home.

Nobody was raiding their homes.

It's a very different justicesystem that you experience

in America if you're poor,

and-and often casesif you're a minority.

And that belies the truthof what,

when I walk down the stepsof the Capitol

and I look at the Supreme Courtbuilding,

written on the side of the wallis one thing

staring at all Americanspassing by:

"Equal Justice Under Law."

-(applause)-And until we reach that,

(clears throat)that ideal, we must fight.

And what scares meabout this is,

the most pervertedtype of privilege,

is that when there'sa serious problem,

but it doesn'taffect you personally,

-then to you, it's not reallya serious problem. -Yeah.

This is a serious problem.

It should motivate all Americansto want to change it.

(cheers, applause)

Always good to have you.

Always wonderful.

Thank you so muchfor being here.

Senator Cory Booker.

We'll be right back.