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President Biden on Wednesday, reacting to the leaked draft opinion signaling the Supreme Court’s intent to overturn Roe v. Wade, slammed Republicans, saying the controversy is “about a lot more than abortion,” and warning that the “MAGA crowd” is “the most extreme political organization that’s existed in recent American history.”
Following remarks from the White House announcing that his administration is “on track” to cut the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion by the end of the fiscal year, the president was asked about the leaked draft opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, which indicates the high court’s plans to strike down Roe v. Wade, which would leave decisions on abortion restrictions for the states to decide.
“This is about a lot more than abortion,” Biden said, pointing to Roe as part of the right to privacy as he had Tuesday following the release of the draft opinion.
President Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Biden reflected on the Supreme Court confirmation process for former President Reagan’s nominee Robert Bork in the late 1980s, when he served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“This reminds me of the debate with Robert Bork. Bork believed the only reason you had any inherent rights was because the government gave them to you,” Biden recalled. “When I was questioning him as the chairman, I said, ‘I believe I have the rights that I have not just because the government gave them to me, which you believe, but because I’m just a child of God—I exist.’”
“So, the idea that somehow there is an inherent right, that there is no right of privacy, that there is no right,” Biden continued. “There’d been a law saying a married couple could not purchase birth control in the privacy of their own bedroom and use it. Well, that got struck down.”
Biden was referring to Griswold v. Connecticut, which he said “was thought to be a bad decision, by working on, my guess is, the guys on the Supreme Court.”
“Now, what happens if you have states changing the law, saying that that that children who are LGBT, who can’t be in classrooms with other children, is that is that legit under the way that the decision is written?” Biden asked.
“What are the next things that are going to be attacked?” He asked. “Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history—-in recent American history.”
Biden’s comments about “MAGA” come after he declared last month that the GOP “ain’t your father’s Republican Party,” saying it has shifted to a “MAGA party,” warning that right-leaning politicians “who know better” are “afraid to act correctly” out of fear of losing a primary election.
A draft Supreme Court opinion on a case that addresses the precedence of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey was obtained and made public by Politico in an unprecedented and stunning leak from the high court late Monday.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Justice Samuel Alito writes in the document, labeled the “Opinion of the Court” for the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
But Biden on Tuesday declared he is “not prepared” to leave the issue of privacy to “the whims” of the public in “local areas,” warning that a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was a “radical decision” that would jeopardize “a whole range of rights.”
A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, Monday night, May 2, 2022 in Washington following reports of a leaked draft opinion by the court overturning Roe v. Wade.
(AP Photo/Anna Johnson)
If Roe were overturned, decisions about the legal status of abortion would be left to the individual states.
The draft opinion would abolish the foundation of Roe, which argues that abortion must be legal in all states because of a right to privacy that can be found in the Constitution. Many conservative jurists say such a general right does not exist.
“Look, the idea, it concerns me, that we’re gonna, after 50 years, decide a woman does not have the right to choose, number one,” Biden said Tuesday. “But, equally as profound is the rationale, and it remained the every other decision in the notion of privacy is brought into question.”
He added: “If it were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question, and it would be a fundamental shift.”
Biden warned that if the Supreme Court moves to overturn Roe v. Wade, as it signaled in the leaked opinion, issues regarding right to marriage, right to contraception and more come into question.
“One of the issues this court, many members of the court, have not acknowledged is there is a right to privacy in the Constitution,” Biden said.
“If this decision holds, it really is a radical decision,” Biden said. “All of the decisions make in private life, who you marry, whether you can have an abortion, how you raise your child… it is a fundamental shift.”
The president went on to say that “one of the reasons” why he voted against “a number of members of the court” was because “they refuse to acknowledge that there’s a 9th Amendment.”
The Ninth Amendment states that the “enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
According to the Annenberg Classroom, the Ninth Amendment is a “constitutional safety net intended to make clear that individuals have other fundamental rights, in addition to those listed in the First through Eighth Amendments.”
“They refuse to acknowledge there’s a right to privacy,” the president said Tuesday. “I mean, there are so many fundamental rights that are affected by that.”
The president added: “And I’m not prepared to leave that to the whims and the — and the — of the public at the moment in local areas.”
Biden in September directed the White House Gender Policy Council and Office of the White House Counsel to launch “a whole-of-government effort to respond” to the Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed Texas’s “extreme” law that banned more abortions to remain in effect.
“I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court,” Biden said.
He added: “We will be ready when any ruling is issued.”