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THE SITUATION ROOM
Supreme Court Upholds President Obama's Healthcare Law; Williston, North Dakota has One Percent Unemployment; The 9/11 Memorial Disrespected, Littered with Trash, by Junior High Students on a Field Trip to Ground Zero; Chicago's Murder Rate Increased
Aired June 30, 2012 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, HOST: You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Conservatives feel betrayed after chief justice John Roberts sides with the Supreme Court's liberals to uphold health care reform. Does it foreshadow his future rulings?
And what's next in the wake of the historic ruling? We look at how the law impacts almost all Americans.
Plus, we visit a U.S. town where unemployment is just one percent, and there's a mad scramble to fill thousands of jobs. What has this town booming?
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Candy Crowley and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It's been a week of major rulings at the Supreme Court, culminating with the most anticipated decision in more than a decade, health care reform. Chief justice John Roberts caught many observers off guard by siding with the four liberal justices to uphold President Obama's signature accomplishment.
CNN's Kate Bolduan begins our coverage.
Kate, this was a ruling that went against conventional wisdom.
KATE BOLDUAN, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I would absolutely say so, Candy.
It was a bombshell ruling with the chief justice, as the swing vote joining the court's more liberal justices in the majority narrowly upholding the main provisions of the president's health care law. The justification for that is what surprised many court watchers. The chief justice writing for the majority that the mandate was unconstitutional, under the commerce clause, really rejecting the argument that the Obama administration and Congress stood behind the most. Instead, the majority said the law was upheld under congress's power to tax, a pretty unexpected legal route.
In the opinion, Roberts wrote this, in part, quote, "the federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. The federal government does have the power," he says, "to impose a tax on those without health insurance." Kind of laying out the real difference between the two arguments there, though the four more liberal justices didn't agree with his overall reasoning here on the basic question though, of should the mandate stay or should it go, they joined, forming a obviously surprising coalition.
But that also means that the former conservative justices were in the dissent, and it was an unusually harsh dissent. They argued not only should the mandate event for now, but also the entire law should have been thrown out as well.
And on the majority's legal reasoning, they wrote this. Quote, "to save the individual mandate merely imposes a tax is not to interpret the statute, but to rewrite it." They go on to say, "imposing a tax through judicial legislation inverts the constitutional scheme and places the power to tax in the branch of government least accountable to the citizenry." A pretty scathing criticism aimed, as you can tell, directly at the chief justice himself, Candy.
CROWLEY: And Kate, there were several other rulings this week that made huge news.
BOLDUAN: It was a very big week. The court offered a split decision on Arizona's illegal immigration law, striking down three of the four provisions at issue, while unanimously upholding, at least for now, the most controversial one, the requirement that police check people's immigration status, while enforcing other laws, if the officers have quote unquote, "reasonable suspicions" they are in the country illegally.
Also, this week struck down a federal law that made it a crime to falsely claim military honors. They ruled in favor of a man who admittedly lied about earning the Medal of Honor. He wasn't ever in the military and was prosecuted under the federal law called the stolen valor act.
Now, this man argued his lie, was actually protected speech, protected under the first amendment, free speech. Well, the justices showed very little sympathy for this man, even calling him pathetic. In the 6-3 ruling, though, they agreed with his legal argument.
And finally this week, another important one with that we're all watching, the Supreme Court reaffirmed their landmark citizens united ruling, which two years ago helped open the floodgates to unlimited campaign spending by corporations. The court this time was asked to hear a Montana case on whether states can limit independent spending. But the 5-4 majority refused to hear arguments on the issue, instead ruling that citizens united that ruling trumps state law. That's another one with big implications going forward, Candy.
CROWLEY: And it's really useful to know that you can be pathetic and still win in the Supreme Court.
BOLDUAN: Well said.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Kate. Our Kate Bolduan, we appreciate it. The health care ruling has sparked a Supreme Court mystery. The text is peppered with signs that chief justice Roberts may have switched his vote at the last minute. We want to talk about that more with Tom Goldstein, publisher and co-founder of scotusblog.com.
So, there are a lot of signs, one of them being in the dissent, the conservatives didn't address John Roberts' reasoning until the end of their dissent, and that's taken as a mystery. Do you go - do you go with it?
TOM GOLDSTEIN, PUBLISHER, CO-FOUNDER, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: This is all a possibility. When you have a really long opinion that goes on for so many pages, you can always kind find he leaves in there. I still think it's unlikely for two reasons.
The first is we can tell who was assigned opinions throughout the course of the term that chief justice Roberts always had the principle majority in the health care case. So, we know that he was always writing.
And second, it seems very unlikely that at the last minute he would have change his mind, given that they known this case was coming to them for years. So, I think there's some indication that the votes may have changed around some, things may have moved some, but I doubt this was a last-second switch in time.
CROWLEY: And some people think there were hints in his questioning that he might have gone this, OK, you could call it a tax route.
GOLDSTEIN: Yes. That's right. His questioning, that's exactly right. During the oral argument, did raise this question of, well, it might be unconstitutional, under the commerce power. This idea the conservatives were so concerned about, overreaching as an attempt to regulate interstate commerce. But maybe the fallback position of the Obama administration, that Kate just describe, might be enough to save the law, and that's how it ended up.
CROWLEY: You have to listen to them very carefully, right?
CROWLEY: Let me ask you a question about the chief justice. I read in some of the commentary afterwards, that this was an opinion that seemed to be the chief justice in his role as chief justice that he was very aware that the court is seen as an increasingly politicized. And that this was his sort of, OK, American people, you can trust this court to follow the law decision. Do you think -- take us inside his mind, if you can.
GOLDSTEIN: Well, you know, the chief justice only speaks through the opinions. There's a lot of speculating going on, a lot of psychology. But I think you can start with the premise that he believed this was the right outcome. But the premise follows from a philosophy that says, with big economic legislation that can affect hundreds of millions of people. The Supreme Court ought to be the last resort rather than the first resort, that this is principally congress' job. If he can find a way to uphold legislation, that's the Supreme Court's job.
And I think in him writing it, because that's the case he has to make, would he just join someone else's opinion or would he be the author? He was showing the country, that it's not a partisan institution. That the conservative appointed by a Republican president, chief justice of the United States, can be the pivotal vote to save the signature accomplishment of a Democratic president. That -- even if that's not necessarily the intended result, it is certainly the result.
CROWLEY: Right. So the law was there, that helped him back up his decision as a justice. But the opportunity was there for him to act as a chief justice?
GOLDSTEIN: Yes. That's exactly right. And many people have said, and I agree, this is really going to be remembered as a pivotal point in the Roberts court. The Supreme Court over the decades is known by the chief justice. And it's going to be incredibly hard to criticize, either him or the court as a whole, over the next ten years, for being too conservative because people can always point to this decision.
CROWLEY: Makes it easy. Next term, major cases on affirmative action, we may get some voting rights cases, perhaps even some same-sex marriage. Does anything that justice Roberts, chief justice Roberts said tell you about how he's going to view these next cases?
GOLDSTEIN: I don't think so. Remember that before yesterday, there had never been a single case that we had 5-4 with John Roberts joining the four more liberal members of the court against four conservatives. There had in his first year been one 5-3 decision, but this was extremely unusual and it doesn't suggest a trend in any way.
I don't think this fundamentally changing his philosophy about how the law ought to be interpreted as a conservative. Instead, it was this limited role for the Supreme Court. I don't think you should read in anything else to it.
CROWLEY: Tom Goldstein, tell us the name of your blog. It's scotusblog.com.
CROWLEY: That's where you go to find out a lot. Thank you so much.
GOLDSTEIN: Thank you.
CROWLEY: Whether you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court, the ruling on health care reform is a huge deal for the country that affects most every American.
CNN's Tom Foreman joins us to drill down on what the decision means for you and your family.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Candy. You know, the thing is for many, many people, since it was signed back in 2010, a lot of folks really haven't seen a big result. Sure, if you have kids who are college aged, they were able to stay on your insurance, one of the earlier sciences of this. But as we're progressing, you're going to be able to see a lot more. We are going to hit a few of the highlights here.
Obviously, we have the court ruling that just came down now, which in some way opening the floodgates. Next year in 2013, you're going to see a cap on flexible spending accounts. Those are the things you do through work, where you set aside money before taxes and spend it throughout the year, there'll be a limit on that next year.
Also next year, some higher income earners will be hit by the taxes that are associated with some of this. There are taxes and there are fees hidden throughout this, aside from the part that the court said amounts to a tax, now, which will make a big difference here.
If we move ahead, 2014, that's a big year. We're all going to see changes then. That's when you must buy insurance. If you're a family, the penalty for not doing that will be about $285 or one percent of your income, whichever is larger. There will be insurance exchanges established in the states. Some people have said this is sort of like expedia.com. It will be a thing where you go online and try to find a way to buy insurance in your state. There will be no disqualification for existing conditions at that time and there will be expanded Medicaid for the very poor. So 2014 will be a very big year.
WE move ahead to 2016 though, think about those penalties, look at how fast they ramp up. By that time for a family, the penalty for not having insurance will be over $2,085 or 2.5 percent of your income. That is going to make a big difference to some people. It will drive the bus to just economically as well.
And by 2018, that's when the tax on those Cadillac insurance plans comes in. But I will say this, Candy, in all of these equations as we march through the years; the big question is how does the math work out?
Democrats keep saying it will pay for itself, it will all be worthwhile, and we'll see it in the savings. Republicans say, not so much. The bottom line is this is a $1 trillion program over ten years and there are a lot of questions about how the math is really going to play out and who's going to wind up being hit by some of these things and who will benefit from some other ones - Candy.
CROWLEY: So we expect you back there with that board in 2018 to tell us the answer.
FOREMAN: For years and years, we'll be adding this up to see what the sum is.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you something. Just looking at this from a political point of view, it does appear, as Republicans are said increasingly, that the real heavy sort of stick part of this whole bill doesn't really happen until 2016, which if the president should win re-election, will be his last year in office, and then the Cadillac plan doesn't even happen until 2018. So is it true that we got the good stuff first and then moving to the bad stuff down the line?
FOREMAN: Yes. Well, you do in a sense. I got to tell you, Candy. I was discussing yesterday with some folks, I wonder how much more we're going to see this kind of policy making from both parties. Because, listen, nobody likes better the idea, you know, of saying, let's get the goods now and let's shove the bills off on another Congress and another president.
But that may very well be what happens. And when we get to this year or the next year, because bear in mind, there are families who right now think they don't have a Cadillac plan. But by 2018, you might. And if you're paying a tax on it then, you might say, God, this was such a great idea a while ago, now, maybe not so much.
CROWLEY: And we should also point out what Congress does, it can also undo. So 2018 is a long time away.
FOREMAN: Yes, it is.
CROWLEY: Thanks so much, Tom, appreciate it.
Democrats and Republicans are scrambling now to put their spin on the Supreme Court's bombshell decision. Will Obama care be an even bigger campaign issue now?
And some people say Chicago has become more dangerous than the war zone in Afghanistan. Teenagers are doing a lot of the shooting and the dying.
And, outrage after the 9/11 memorial was littered with trash by junior high students.
CROWLEY: The Supreme Court decision upholding health care reform is energizing both the Obama and Romney campaigns and underscoring the starkest contrast between the candidates. Both of them talked about the decision hours after it came down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's why even though I knew it wouldn't be politically popular and resisted the idea when I ran for this office, we ultimately included a provision in the affordable care act that people who can afford to buy health insurance should take the responsibility to do so.
In fact, this idea has enjoyed support from members of both parties, including the current Republican nominee for president. Still, I know the debate over this law has been divisive. I respect the very real concerns that millions of Americans have shared.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a time of choice for the American people. Our mission is clear. If we want to get rid of Obama care, we're going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that. That we return to the American people the privilege they've always had to live their lives in the way they feel most appropriate, where we don't pass on to coming generations massive deficits and debt. Where we don't have a setting where jobs are lost. If we want good jobs and a bright economic future for ourselves and for our kids, we must replace Obama care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Let's get more now with CNN contributor, Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "the New Yorker."
So just some truth spotting, first of all, the White House thought this would be a popular law, with what the president says. And despite what Mitt Romney says, it's not like he could walk it off and goes I repeal this law. It doesn't work that way. What's behind that rhetoric?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, look. I think the scenario by which he can repeal this is he has to win the Senate. Remember, the Senate's controlled by Democrats. The Republicans need to retain the house, and obviously has to win the presidency.
Now, if he wins the presidency, a better possibility that the Republicans did well in congress. But then, he has to -- he's got his Republican's best friend, the filibuster, to deal with in the Senate. And repealing Obama care would be almost as difficult as passing Obama care, right?
CROWLEY: 60 votes.
LIZZA: 60 votes. So then you move to this very complicated parliamentary procedure known as reconciliation. There is a budgetary device where you can get things through the Senate with a simple majority, 51 votes. And this week, just within hours of the Supreme Court decision, lots of Republicans now are gaming out, can we, if Romney is president and we take over the Senate, can we repeal Obama care through reconciliation. There's a big debate about.
CROWLEY: Just defund it? Just not give it any money?
LIZZA: That's another option, you can defund it, but you leave all kinds of pieces. Just as when Obama was implemented or was trying to pass the law, the White House had this debate. Do we do it with overcoming a filibuster with 60 votes or do it with reconciliation?
They decided, at least at first, to do it with 60 votes, because they decided that doing it through reconciliation would create what they called the Swiss cheese law. You couldn't do everything you wanted. So that's -- it's not as easy for Romney to get rid of this thing as he stated in those remarks yesterday.
CROWLEY: And then comes the hard part, replace.
LIZZA: It replaces and that's where the Obama team now is coming back with him and saying, hey, OK, if you're going to get rid of this, let's put some pressure on Romney and say, what are you going to replace it with? And so far the Romney camp has been shy about giving details on that.
CROWLEY: One of the things that interested me with the notes we saw on the Supreme Court was justice Ginsberg noting that congress' basis for this health care law was Mitt Romney's health care law. It just seemed like a political --
LIZZA: Yes, you know, it reminded me, both Scalia and Ginsberg in decisions this week took little shots, or at least references to what's going on in the campaigns which I don't think there's anything wrong with that. These guys are political actors in the sense, and they watch what's going on.
Scalia in his Arizona dissent, I believe, mentioned President Obama's recent decision on not deporting certain classes of illegal aliens. And Ginsberg talked about how the idea for Obama care originated in Massachusetts. On the one hand, it's factually true. And on the other hand for us, she's being a little political there because that's the Obama --
CROWLEY: A little bit of, we get it, folks, we're not really behind an ivory tower here.
CROWLEY: Health care has not been a winning issue for the president. He hasn't talked about it on the campaign trail. Is it more of a winning issue now? I sort of look at it and it's like he's gotten the "good housekeeping" seal of approval and maybe people take a second look?
LIZZA: Look. I always think part of the reason the polls are so poorly -- the polls are so down on health care, one; there are a lot of liberals in those polls who wanted his health care law to go further, so they express disapproval. But even if you take that into consideration, it's never done well in the polls with and the Obama team, this campaign. They haven't really talked about it. He's not really running on his health care record, his biggest achievement is not running on it.
But, I think the other thing is a lot of people don't know what it does. And the opinion polling on health care is highly sensitive to the data that people have. And so perhaps, we'll see, that now that the Supreme Court, which still garners a great deal of respect in America, has upheld it, we'll see if that affects its --
CROWLEY: A new light on it for some people. Ryan Lizza of "the New Yorker," thank you.
LIZZA: Thanks, Candy.
CROWLEY: President Obama's attorney general held in contempt of congress. Ahead, what's next for Eric Holder after an unprecedented slap from the Republican-led house? Plus, America's so-called second city is now among its most violent. Up next, the latest on Chicago's skyrocketing murder rate. Many of the victims are teenagers.
CROWLEY: America's so-called second city is now among its most violent. Just this year, the murder rate has skyrocketed more than 30 percent in Chicago. The latest rash of killings, just days ago, and many of the victims are teenagers.
CNN's Ted Rowlands spoke to two 16-year-old gang members about their world, where death is a way of life.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Devante's family wants you to take a good look at something you may need to brace yourself for, Devante's body in an open casket. This, they say, is what violence on the streets of Chicago really looks like. The 20-year-old had recently returned to Chicago from college in Georgia. He was gunned down in what police are calling a gang shooting.
MELVIN NUTE, GRANDFATHER: He's a handsome young man, too. A very handsome young man and he got killed, probably over some nonsense.
ROWLANDS: Devante's funeral was Friday, few hours before the start of another violent weekend in Chicago.
MAURICE GILCHRIST, 16-YEAR-OLD GANG MEMBER: I won't probably see 18. I'm a gangbanger. I'm not going to lie. I'm going to keep it real with you.
ROWLANDS: Silas Ratliff and Maurice Gilchrist are both 16, both are associated with a gang and say they wouldn't be surprised if they were shot today.
SILAS RATLIFF, 16-YEAR-OLD GANG MEMBER: Just walking down the street, you never know. It could be your time to go.
GILCHRIST: You always got to look behind turning your back. Anybody want to kill me, may end up killing you, you and you and not killing me.
ROWLANDS: The kids are matter of fact about the things they do and what they've seen.
GILCHRIST: I've seen people get shot, killed, robbed, I've done some of that -- all that. It's crazy.
ROWLANDS: According to Chicago police, the murder rate here is up 35 percent compared to last year. People living here say that gangs have taken over. Some say they'd like to see the National Guard come in.
FREDDIE WOODSON, DEACON SAINT ANDREW CHURCH: We need help. We need help. That's the only way I can put it. ROWLANDS: Maurice and Silas say there are no jobs and people have no idea how hard it is to survive.
RATLIFF: Have they ever had to wear the same clothes week in and week out --
ROWLANDS: A week straight?
GILCHRIST: Wash your underwear out in the sink and hang it up so your school clothes will be ready. Not knowing when your next meal will come.
ROWLANDS: But, they would like to finish high school and get a good job. The dropout rate in Chicago's schools is a staggering 40 percent. And Maurice and Silas say they know it's very possible they'll end up in prison or in a casket like Devante.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Chicago.
CROWLEY: A quick footnote. To help combat the violence, Chicago police are teaming up with the anti-violence group cease fire, which uses ex- felons to negotiate fights between gangs. The group is receiving $1 million in city funds to put 20 of those workers in crime-ridden neighborhoods. The program starts in two weeks.
The Republican-led house deals an unprecedented blow to President Obama and his attorney general. Ahead, what's next for Eric Holder now that he's been held in contempt?
Plus, the 9/11 memorial disrespected. Why some junior high students on a field trip littered it with trash.
CROWLEY: The first sitting U.S. attorney general ever held in contempt of Congress says he's the victim of a politically motivated investigation. The Republican-led house approved criminal and civil contempt citations against Eric Holder this week.
Some Democrats walked out of the chamber in protest, refusing to take part in the vote. It all stems from the failed fast and furious gun running sting, and the administration's refusal to hand over documents related to it.
Our Brian Todd has been looking at a new investigation of fast and furious - Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Candy, the investigation by CNN's partner, "Fortune" magazine, dissects the fast and furious program and reveals what it says are distortions in media reports and in accusations leveled by members of congress.
Now, essentially the "Fortune" piece says the ATF did not intentionally allowed guns to walk into Mexico as an operational tactic. Five law enforcement agents involved in the program tell "Fortune" that it was just the opposite. That they seized weapons whenever they could, but that they were hamstringed by weak laws and by prosecutors who often insisted that they just didn't have enough evidence to wiretap or to bust people.
Now, what really blew up this case, the murder of this man, Brian Terry. He was 40 years old, a Detroit-area native, a former U.S. marine. He was part of an elite border patrol unit that was attacked by Mexican bandits on December 14th, 2010. Terry was killed in that attack. We have some video of the aftermath of that scene right here. He was killed in the attack and the bandits left two semi-automatic weapons at this scene.
Now, a trace of the serial numbers revealed that they had been purchased nearly a year earlier at a phoenix-area gun store by a fast and furious suspect.
Ten weeks after Terry's murder, an ATF agent told CBS news that his supervisors had intentionally allowed firearms to be tracked into Mexico. Then congress got involved in it. About four months after that, ATF agent's allegations, Brian Terry's family appeared before a house committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE TERRY BALOGH, BRIAN TERRY'S SISTER: Brian was about making a difference in justice and I just feel that this country owes it to him, because he spent his whole life fighting for this country, some way or another.
ROBERT HEYER, BRIAN TERRY'S COUSIN: If the guns used in Brian's murder were part of this operation, then we want to know, will everyone in that operation, that had to deal with those specific weapons, be brought up on charges of facilitating the murder of Brian Terry?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: So as with so many scandals, this started with a personal story, the tragedy of Brian Terry's death. It started with grudges within the ATF unit in Arizona, tracking the guns. Grudges with led to this getting blown up in the media.
And in congress, and now about a year and a half after the death of Brian Terry, the border patrol agent, we've got contempt of Congress vote against the attorney general - Candy.
TODD: So we've had a lot of talking, but still we're kind of minus some answers.
But let me ask you one thing. So there were other members of this unit, key members, who clearly have some key information. What happened to the members of that ATF unit?
TODD: They're still apparently working for the agency, Candy. "Fortune" magazine says that that unit's kind of been blown up. The leader of the unit, the man named David Buff (ph). He transferred to a desk job in Washington.
Now, much of that fortune piece was based on David Buff's (ph) account of what transpired in this investigation. Other members of that unit were transferred to ATF field offices, but they are also apparently still working for the ATF.
CROWLEY: Brian, thanks very much.
We want to bring in our crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns.
Obviously, this was new information coming kind of at the end, saying there's just been a mistake, an impression of what this whole thing was about. And still, we got the vote --
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: We absolutely got the vote. And I have to say, there were people, Republicans on Capitol Hill who take issue with that "Fortune" report, and senator Charles Grassley from Iowa, who's one of the people who actually started this investigation, at the base level on Capitol Hill, put out a big statement saying, hey, you know, wait a minute on this report, because if you look at it, you still have to believe that a lot of people on Capitol Hill at the justice department and in other places, pretty much accepted a lie and preferred to go with the lie, even though there was a better defense for the justice department.
So the bottom line here is that the inspector general is looking into all of this, and whenever the facts are released from the inspector general investigation, that's hopefully going to be the closest and surest version of the truth.
CROWLEY: Yes. Sometimes these things never go away, though, even with an inspector general's report. So what happens next with the contempt citation against the attorney general?
JOHNS: OK, so you sort of had a dual track happening on the house floor. There was the criminal contempt. That, of course, gets referred to the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, who happens to be an employee of the justice department, and a subordinate to Eric Holder, probably not going to get real far with that.
CROWLEY: Prosecutorial discretion.
JOHNS: Exactly, that's what they call it. On the other hand, you have the civil track. The committee was also authorized to go to the courts to sue, to try to get the information they say they need in order to determine, for example, whether there was a cover-up, who lied, why, and what have you. But that could take a very long time.
You know, these kinds of court fights, which implicate executive privilege and other things like that, can go on for months or years. So most of the time, what you end up with is some type of a negotiated solution, where everybody gets in the room and says, all right, we'll have certain people come and testify to this. We'll give you certain redacted documents, we'll give you this, but not that, and then it all goes away. But that's what can happen.
CROWLEY: So, we probably won't know for a couple years where this goes.
JOHNS: You might not. Well, if they get lucky and talk it through, it might be sooner.
CROWLEY: So far they haven't been able to talk it through.
CROWLEY: So thank you so much, crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns. Appreciate it.
The 9/11 memorial disrespected, littered with trash, by junior high students on a field trip to Ground Zero.
Plus, we visit a U.S. town where unemployment is just one percent and there's a mad scramble to fill thousands of jobs. What has this town booming?
CROWLEY: It is hallowed ground, where almost 3,000 people died on one of America's darkest days, so you can imagine the outrage when a group of young people disrespected the 9/11 memorial by littering.
CNN's Mary Snow has details.
Mary, what happened here?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, a Brooklyn Junior High School has apologized to the 9/11 memorial for being disrespectful at the site. But the father of a 9/11 victim says it's not just the kids who are to blame. He faults the memorial itself.
SNOW (voice-over): The 9/11 memorial has drawn three million visitors since it opened last year, but it's in the middle of a controversy after a junior high class was can kicked out last week, accused of throwing trash into one of the reflecting pools, honoring those killed on September 11th.
Jim Riches, who lost his son, Jimmy, a firefighter in the attacks, calls the desecration deplorable. He's been an outspoken critic of the memorial and blames the people running it.
JIM RICHES, FATHER OF 9/11 VICTIM: When you went to, they should be talked to, they should tell you, you know, this is hallowed ground, the families feel it's sacred. And you know, give a little education. Instead, they send them out to a park-like atmosphere, waterfalls, and a people laying on the grass. And there's no real control on it. I find them at (INAUDIBLE).
SNOW: The principal of the Brooklyn Junior High School apologized for her students' behavior. But admits in a letter to the memorial, there was not a lack of preparation. There was a lack of decorum and respect.
The 9/11 memorial points out that when visitors go online to get passes, they were given information and rules on prohibited behavior, reminding people that the 9/11 memorial is a place of solemn reflection. We asked one memorial worker who didn't want to be identified about visitors to the memorial.
Do you think they feel like it's a special place?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. It's a lot of people come over here. You know, different groups, different countries. They come in like this is a park. But we cannot consider everybody, you know, the same way.
SNOW: Anthoula Kasimatides, a board member who lost her brother on 9/11, sees people on the grass at the memorial a very different way.
ANTHOULA KATSIMATIDES, BROTHER OF 9/11 VICTIM: Although it is a place of solemn remembrance, it's also a place of hope and reaffirming, you know, life. I mean, that was the whole premise behind the type of memorial that we have was all these life-affirming elements. The water, the sky, the grass, was to provide that sense of hope.
SNOW: Now, the memorial's board member you just heard from says the board is concerned and dedicated to ensuring that the atmosphere is one of respect at the memorial. But she also adds that efforts to educate people will go a long way, once the museum is open. And Candy, its unclear when that is going to happen.
CROWLEY: Mary Snow, a really interesting story. Thank you.
CROWLEY: It was once the envy of the world, and now America's infrastructure, that's roads and bridges, are crumbling. Ahead, a look at the growing crisis and where the jobs are. One town is scrambling to fill some 3,000 positions. Details of what's behind the boom.
CROWLEY: After going just about a thousand days without a new transportation law, Congress this week finally found room for a compromise on a massive bill to upgrade our crumbling highways and bridges. But is it enough?
CNN aviation regulation correspondent Lizzie O'Leary takes a look at the fallout from the long wait.
LIZZIE O'LEARY, CNN TRANSPORTATION & REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: We're starting here at the capital where Congress couldn't pass a long-term transportation plan. And you don't have to go far to see the roads that Americans drive on aren't in great shape. Just nine miles away, this bridge is missing big chunks of concrete. It is 45 years old, the average age of most bridges in the U.S.
NICK ROPER, VIRGINIA STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: You can see the staining of the piers. You can see where some of the concrete has popped away and it's exposed the reinforcing steel.
O'LEARY: Nick roper is in charge of maintaining bridges in northern Virginia. This bridge, like one in eight across the country, is structurally deficiency structurally deficient. That means it can still safely carry passengers, but needs a major overhaul.
ROPER: The longer you way, the more costly it becomes and the more extensive the repairs come. So, hopefully we won't be waiting 25 years for this particular bridge.
O'LEARY: Waiting is probably the one thing every commuter is familiar with. Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic. This wait that we're doing right now, this costs each commuter 750 bucks a year?
PETER NONIS, AAA CONGRESSIONAL RELATIONS: Yes. $2 billion -- two billion gallons of wasted gasoline per year.
O'LEARY: Put a grade on this bill for me?
NONIS: I think it gets a passing grade. In this conditioning which has not quite passed much.
O'LEARY: And then there's transit, like buses and this subway. Civil engineers graded U.S. transit systems a "D." As they said it would take $260 billion and five years just to bring them up to speed. The money to pay for all this traditionally cams from a gas tax, but nobody wanted to raise it, especially in an election year.
And that brings us back here, where our long-term plan to fix all that crumbling infrastructure got stuck in legislative traffic.
Lizzie O'Leary, CNN, Washington.
CROWLEY: Now, try to imagine a town with one percent unemployment, where they can't build houses fast enough for a surging population and schools are scrambling to hire dozens of new teachers. While much of the U.S. struggles, Williston, North Dakota, is enjoying a boom most cities only dream of, and it's all thanks to one thing -- oil.
Here's CNN's Dan Lothian.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is North Dakota's new heart, pumping around the clock sending black gold from the oil fields to Main Street. Small cities like Williston in the northwest corner of the state are bulging with prosperity. We're blessed. For whatever reason, the good Lord, I guess, put the oil here.
LOTHIAN: Mayor Ward Koeser, on the job for 18 years, has gone from begging for new investments in his town to having more jobs than he can handle.
MAYOR WARD KOESER, WILLISTON, NORTH DAKOTA: Our unemployment is around one percent. We have a lot, 3,000 jobs just in this little town that are available. We have the businesses in town are doing very, very well. The economy is just so very strong here right now.
LOTHIAN: Oil and new technologies that allow horizontal drilling or frocking or the breaking up of underground rock, are driving this boom, raising the average salary here to more than $70,000 a year, and changing the landscape.
This was one corner of town 18 months ago. Here it is today. It's a community with houses still being built and selling for about $200,000 each. With all that expansion, comes a lot of traffic, like all these big trucks. This is the main road through town. In 2008, 9,000 cars a day drove through here. Last year that number was 28,000. The population has exploded from 12,500 people to more than 20,000. And nowhere is that felt more than in the classroom.
VIOLA LAFONTAINE, WILLISTON SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: It's going so fast that it's so hard for us to keep up.
LOTHIAN: School superintendent, Viola Lafontaine, is scrambling. She's leased 32 modular buildings for the fall, might use FEMA trailers and she's on a hiring binge to find 52 teachers.
LAFONTAINE: We're trying to prepare for anywhere from eight to 1,200 students.
LOTHIAN: But luring teachers to a town where rents have skyrocketed from a few hundred dollars a month to more than $2,000 for a modest apartment is challenging.
Since it's difficult for teachers to find affordable housing on a salary of $31,000, the school district has gotten into the real estate business, buying these two apartment buildings. Eight units in all and the teachers have to double up, paying more than $400 each.
You're also a landlord?
LAFONTAINE: I'm also a landlord along with the rest of what I'm doing.
LOTHIAN: Even if you have the money, there's a housing shortage. Motels are all booked with long-term residents. We had to stay 45 miles away. So-called man camps have sprung up everywhere, housing oil field workers.
But while oil workers are raking it in, people with jobs in retail or fast food are being left out in the cold. This church parking lot gets crowded once the sun goes down. Shower, shave and sleep inside or stay in your car.
James Kendall moved here for a job to support his daughter, says he was just hired at Walmart where the pay good, but he still can't afford an apartment.
This is more than a car. This is your house.
JAMES KENDALL, HIRED AT WALMART: Yes. I have an air matrix.
LOTHIAN: Adam (INAUDIBLE) as temp work and a lead on a good oil job.
ADAM (INAUDIBLE), OIL WORKER: I want to buy a home. I want to have a good life. And I figure if I have to be homeless for a couple of months and work my way up to that, I'll do that.
LOTHIAN: Chasing his dreams like others we saw here from Florida, California, Georgia. It's like the dust bowl migration to California. But some long-time residents are worried about the dizzying growth and what happens once the oil stops flowing.
JIM FITZSIMMONS, RESIDENT: The boom is causing problems, although it's great for the economy. And when it's over, the problems are going too triply.
LOTHIAN: Mayor Koeser says he's looking to diversify, promote tourism and is spending his city's new wealth wisely.
KOESER: If you need to make sure it's sustainable and that you don't get yourself in debt too much, you know, that you live of this and make the best of it but recognize that there are no guarantees.
LOTHIAN: Dan Lothian, CNN, Williston, North Dakota.
CROWLEY: Actually, North Dakota has two of the top three cities when it comes to low unemployment. Bismarck and Fargo have jobless rates at about three percent.
You probably heard of rock, paper, scissors, but what about rock, paper, robot? If you challenge this thing to a round, you are going to lose.
CROWLEY: Here's a look at this hour's hot shots.
In Colorado, a firefighter saves a baby deer from a raging wildfire.
In Mexico, students protest for transparency in the media.
In Madrid, soccer fans react while watching the euro 2012 final match between Spain and Portugal.
And in Tennessee, the Memphis mayor is greeted with cheers at a musical ceremony. Hot shots, pictures coming in from around the world.
A new robot is putting a new twist on the age old game rock, paper scissors. And chances are high 100 percent in fact, that if you challenge this gadget to a round, you're going to lose.
CNN's Jeans Moos has a closer look at why.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When robots start to play rock, paper, scissors, humanity may find itself caught between a rock and paper because humans lose to this machine 100 percent of the time.
It was designed at a (INAUDIBLE) laboratory at University of Tokyo. Let's slow it down so you can see paper losing to the robot's scissors, or the robot's paper beating rock. Only way to beat this thing is to invent new rules as they did on "friends."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fire, beats everything.
MOOS: So, how does the robot do it? Well, a high speed camera recognizes which shape the human hand is making and within one millisecond chooses the gesture that trumps it. Rock, paper, scissors, you cheat, robot, you cheat, cheating really fast. It is like a card shark who sees your hand.
But what about the folks that organize championship tournaments? What does the world rock paper scissor society think of the robot?
DOUGLAS WALKER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, WORLD ROCK, PAPER, SCISSOR SOCIETY: It is extremely impressive.
MOOS: Doug last Walker doesn't consider it cheating. He says humans try to determine what sign a human will throw.
WALKER: The highest level rock, paper, scissor player actually do look at people's hands.
MOOS: For humans, rock, paper, scissors resonates from childhood. We are not sure what a rock scissor robot is good for practically speaking. The same lab designed cloth folding, and pen spinning and egg catching, and rope knotting robots. The Rock, paper scissors society did have one criticism of the robot's vertical paper sign.
WALKER: Which is technically bad form.
MOOS: Instead of vertical handshake motion.
WALKER: This is correct position for paper.
MOOS: Take that, cheating robot. You have lousy form. You're no better than the Simpsons.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Poor predictable Bart. Always takes rock.
MOOS: Lisa Simpson's vertical paper.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rock, paper.
MOOS: Sticks out like a sore thumb.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
CROWLEY: That does it for me. I'm Candy Crowley in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The news continues next on CNN.