In a new prime-time interview with Jake Tapper, President Joe Biden says that the Supreme Court is more of an “advocacy group these days” than an “even-handed” court. After influencing many political issues over the last year, the justices are adamant that their job is to interpret the Constitution. Chief Justice John Roberts stated their opinions are open to criticism but noted: “simply because people disagree with opinions, is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court.”
Allie Malloy and Paul LeBlanc; October 11, 2022
President Joe Biden on Tuesday cast the Supreme Court as more of an “advocacy group these days” than an “even handed” court, as he continues his vocal opposition to the conservative-dominated bench.
“I view this off-year election as one of the most important elections that I’ve been engaged in because a lot can change because the institutions have changed. The Supreme Court is more an advocacy group these days than it is an even handed” court, the President said during a virtual fundraiser for Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware.
For the first time, Biden said, Americans are concerned “about whether we can keep our democracy.”
“Who’s gonna count the votes? Will it be the state legislature that can make a determination in who won the election? I can go on and on. There’s so much at stake,” he said.
Biden ended the call saying he had to go deal with an issue with Ukraine but did not elaborate.
The Supreme Court this year has transformed the legal landscape around an assortment of hot-button issues, including abortion, gun rights, immigration and religious liberty.
In the face of criticism from Biden and other Democrats, Chief Justice John Roberts has defended the legitimacy of the court.
Roberts said last month that all of the court’s opinions are open to criticism, but he pointedly noted that “simply because people disagree with opinions, is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court.”
He said that it’s the court’s job to interpret the Constitution – a task that should not be left to the political branches or driven by public opinion.
The decision that had the most dramatic fallout this year was the June 24 ruling overturning abortion rights precedents. The decision had the on-the-ground effect of making abortion illegal in several states – in some places, immediately after the ruling came down – while also opening the door to a new round of legal fights over access to the procedure.
Biden said at the time “the health and life of women in this nation are now at risk.”
“It’s a sad day for the court and for the country,” the President said speaking from the White House as he called for Congress to codify the right to an abortion.
The 6-3 conservative majority also made gun safety laws much more vulnerable to legal challenges and dealt a major blow both to the Biden administration’s efforts to address climate change and the broader authority that executive branch agencies have to regulate across a variety of policy areas.