Braun: Supreme Court should leave decisions on interracial marriage, abortion to states

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U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana. (IBJ file photo)

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, said Tuesday that he would be open to the Supreme Court overturning its 1967 ruling that legalized interracial marriage nationwide to allow states to independently decide the issue.

Braun—who made the comments during a conference call in which he discussed the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court—said he’d welcome the rescinding of several key decisions made by the court in the past 70 years to pass the power to the states.

His remarks were first reported by local outlets and WFYI Indianapolis.

Critical of activism from the bench, Braun cited a series of landmark decisions made by the court, including Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, and Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage.

When asked by a reporter whether he would consider the Supreme Court potentially striking down Roe this year to be “judicial activism,” Braun said he thought what justices did in 1973 to pass Roe was “judicial activism.”

“That issue should have never been federalized, [it was] way out of sync I think with the contour of America then,” he said. “One side of the aisle wants to homogenize [issues] federally, [and that] is not the right way to do it.”

Individual states, he said, should be able to weigh in on these issues “through their own legislation, through their own court systems.”

The same reporter asked Braun whether he would apply the same judgment to the Loving case, and Braun said “yes.”

“I think that that’s something that if you’re not wanting the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you’re not going to be able to have your cake and eat it, too,” he said. “I think that’s hypocritical.”

The reporter asked whether Braun would say the same about Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that a state’s ban on the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy.

“You can list a whole host of issues,” Braun said. “When it comes down to whatever they are, I’m going to say that they’re not going to all make you happy within a given state, but that we’re better off having states manifest their points of view rather than homogenizing it across the country, as Roe v. Wade did.”

In a statement to The Washington Post after the conference call, Braun said he “misunderstood” the reporter’s questions on Loving and stressed that he opposes racism.

“I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage,” Braun said. “Let me be clear on that issue—there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, that is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels and by any states, entities or individuals.”

Braun did not comment on whether he also misunderstood the line of questioning on Roe or Griswold.

Braun said that while Jackson seems qualified for a seat on the court, he said he expects her not to be an “activist” during her tenure.

“Stick with interpreting the law,” Braun said, according to WFYI. “Don’t legislate from the bench.”

Braun’s statements on Roe, Griswold and Loving come as the Senate weighs Jackson’s nomination, and as fellow Senate Republicans have questioned landmark Supreme Court decisions.

On Monday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., during her questioning of Jackson, said she opposes Griswold, calling the decision “constitutionally unsound.”

Similarly, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., questioned Jackson on Tuesday on the court’s authority in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision that legalized marriage equality—which he called an “edict.”

“When the Supreme Court decides that something that is not even in the Constitution is a fundamental right and no state can pass any law that conflicts with the Supreme Court’s edict, particularly in an area where people have sincerely held religious beliefs, doesn’t that necessarily create a conflict between what people may believe as a matter of their religious doctrine or faith and what the federal government says is the law of the land?” Cornyn asked Jackson.

Jackson said that that “is the nature of a right.”

“When there is a right, it means that there are limitations on regulation, even if people are regulating pursuant to their sincerely held religious beliefs,” Jackson said.

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30 thoughts on “Braun: Supreme Court should leave decisions on interracial marriage, abortion to states

  1. He didn’t misunderstand the question. He expanded on his answer. His response was racist, whether he admits to being one or not. Unfortunately, we in Indiana have grown accustomed to entitled, conservative, old white men embarrassing our state on a regular basis.

    1. But he ran a business!

      Maybe not we’ll, and not ethically…

      But he ran a business!

      (My favorite quote of his that he stated 20+ times during his debate)

  2. It’s quite clear that he understood the question, and in fact, his answer was consistent and in line with the GOP theme that is raising its ugly head again more and more, that states can do whatever they please, and the federal government has no authority to define or enforce any civil rights. It is, of course, the idea that was the foundation of the Civil War. We only thought that this question had been resolved, but Braun and other Republicans are making it clear they have no use for civil rights if they feel offended, or if those rights (such as voting) get in the way of their hold on power. Incredibly shameful. Thanks, Senator, for giving Indiana yet another black eye and embarrassing us all. This one may be even worse than RFRA was.

    1. You’re so adorable when you froth at the mouth!

      I don’t agree with a word he said regarding interracial marriage. Most people are fine with it, or if they aren’t, they don’t care enough to think the laws need to be changed. The state with the highest degree of interracial pairings happens to be one of–if not THE–most conservative (Oklahoma).

      So where is the indignation from schools banning “To Kill a Mockingbird” if they’re up in arms about one school removing “Maus” from curriculum (while it’s still available in the high school library)? Why no outrage from schools teaching “Mein Kampf” for black people (CRT)? Or racially segregated college orientations at once-prestigious schools like Columbia?

      The outrage is selective, of course, and carefully cultivated by Washington Post (Breitbart for leftist) to get the predictable reactions we see here.

  3. I agree he absolutely understood the question. What’s next Senator? Separate bathrooms for different races…..separate drinking fountains……why stop there….how about we simply roll back the Civil Rights Act…..
    Simply unbelievable.

    1. He understood the question but understanding the actual implications of taking a “the states should decide everything” position seems a bit beyond his grasp.

    2. Those are all be pushed actively by activists in our universities today. Segregated orientations and segregated graduations too.

  4. He is simply a disgrace and an embarrassment to the people of Indiana and to the Republican Party and, more importantly, to the constituents (of which I am one) to which he serves. He needs to be voted out….OUT!

  5. Some free advice for Senator Braun —
    — think before you speak
    — use short, declarative sentences
    — do not use irony or metaphor
    — when in doubt, stop the interview, and have your office issue a press release later

    1. That much I can agree with. Braun circumlocuted and hung himself with his own rope, completely forgetting the media class that is there to pounce on his every word. He’ll probably get censured from his own party, as he should.

      But, in the long run, it’s merely a means to divert attention from the sort of overt encouragement of racial essentialism and pro-segregation activism taking place in institutions run almost entirely by Dems that’s getting more heated, more racialized, and more akin to Dixiecrat Alabama–and going almost completely unchecked by our complicit legacy media (which is why it’s getting more heated).

    1. We heard you the first time, Michael G. It’s too bad you didn’t understand Richard Mourdock’s statements…but if you read the Indianapolis Star’s “interpretation,” it’s no wonder you’re sadly mistaken about Richard Mourdock.

  6. WTF – Braun! Idiot. Hopefully this is the end for him. Unfortunately – there are probably too many people like him in this state….sadly.

    1. Then move to California or New York, Mark W. Is anybody making you remain here against your will?

    2. There are plenty of Hoosiers who don’t want racist leaders, Bob P. No need for anyone to move, except for Braun–he needs to crawl back under the rock from which he came.

  7. Goober Braun wants to be Governor Braun. While others might think he’s unqualified, comments like this – along with numerous actions he’s taken as Indiana’s US senator – likely find much agreement among Hoosiers. Aside from Toad Rokita, who else do the Republicans have available for the job?

  8. We need leaders that are in the 21st century thinking about the 22nd century not leaders living in the 19th and early 20th century. This was decided law based upon basic human rights in the 1960s. Does he want to bring back segregated schools since this was also outlawed by the Supreme Court? Democrats and Libertarians, please find a candidate that can beat Sen. Braun and Republicans, throw him out and find a replacement.

    1. LOL. While I don’t agree about interracial marriage and the Loving v Virginia ruling from 55 years ago isn’t being questioned or challenged, regarding abortion, isn’t what he’s arguing simply what would happen if Roe v Wade is overturned?

      What’s particularly hilarious is all the indignation coming from people here, given that the average day on Twitter, at least a half dozen tweets come from people more or less arguing the same things, openly saying the races shouldn’t date or mingle. And even when I was in school in the late 80s/early 90s, our universities had “culturally cognizant” (racially segregated) dormitories. So progressive.

      IIRC, it was a headline editorial a few years ago in the NYT where the writer (not exactly a conservative; this is the NY Times mind you) basically said blacks and whites shouldn’t even tolerate one another any more, let alone date one another.

      Why do these statements go unchallenged? Could it be because the people at Twitter and NYT don’t have an “R” after their names?

  9. It won’t matter. He’ll win reelection with ease. Why? Because 20% of Hoosiers agree and another 50% don’t care, which leaves just 30% of Hoosiers who can actually recognize how abhorrent a statement like that is.