Kamala Harris has condemned the US Supreme Court for being an “activist” institution after it struck down abortion rights nationwide earlier this year.
The vice president’s remarks criticizing the Supreme Court’s conservative majority for its June decision to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established federal abortion rights came during an interview with Chuck Todd of Meet the NBC Press.
“We had a right established for almost half a century, which is the right of women to make decisions about their own bodies as an extension of what we have decided to be, the right to privacy that all the world has a right,” Harris said at a press conference. the interview, a clip of which aired on Friday before airing in full on Sunday. “And this court took away that constitutional right, and we are hurting as a nation because of it.”
Harris said the so-called Dobbs ruling — which fellow Democrats lamented while Republicans hailed it — put shame on the work done by former justices who overturned school segregation. She described having “great concern for the integrity of the court as a whole” and said the current composition of the panel made it a “very different” body from its predecessors.
Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett voted to overturn Roe, who effectively banned abortion in many states across the country. Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett were all Donald Trump White House appointees and had been on the court for less than two years.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined that group of five in voting to uphold a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks, but he disagreed with Roe’s overturning.
Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan dissented, but they lacked the numbers needed to preserve the nationwide abortion rights that many Americans had relied on for nearly 50 years.
Harris’ remarks echo earlier criticism of the loss of abortion rights nationwide. In July, she urged voters to elect candidates who support abortion rights ahead of the midterm congressional races in the fall.
The VP’s latest comments came after Todd asked her about a recent NBC News poll that showed the Supreme Court’s favor rating had dropped to 35% after its controversial decision in June sparked protests. streets across the country.
This same poll showed that nearly 4 in 10 voters have very little or no confidence in the court. A network poll just three years earlier showed 39% had high confidence in the court, and fewer than two in 20 voters said they had low confidence.
NBC said Harris, in Sunday’s full interview, would also share his thoughts on the state of democracy in the United States, among other topics. Earlier in September, Joe Biden gave a speech in which the president said Republican forces loyal to Trump were jeopardizing American democracy.