Five hours after Sen. Mike Braun called for the Supreme Court to allow states to ban interracial marriage, he tried to walk it back, saying, “Earlier during a virtual press conference I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage. 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.”
Sure. He misunderstood. The line of questioning just sort of … ended up on interracial marriage and he didn’t see it coming or have a chance to understand what he was saying. Let’s go to the record on that one. The Indianapolis Star has reprinted all of the questions and answers relating to the Supreme Court from the call on which Braun so sadly failed to understand what question he was answering or what he was saying.
RELATED: Republican senator calls for the Supreme Court to re-allow bans on interracial marriage
Braun got a couple of questions about Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Supreme Court nominee now in confirmation hearings. Then he was asked whether he would consider it to be judicial activism if and when the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortion before viability.
“I consider it to have been judicial activism when it occurred back almost 50 years ago. So I think this would be bringing it back to a neutral point to where that issue should have never been federalized, way out of sync I think with the contours of America then,” Braun responded. “And this basically puts it back to a point where, like most of these issues when one side of the aisle wants to homogenize it federally, is not the right way to do it. This should be something where the expression of individual states are able to weigh in on these issues, through their own legislation, through their own court systems.”
At that point, having called for states to be allowed to make their own abortion laws no matter how restrictive those laws might be, he got a follow-up on interracial marriage, asking, “Would you apply that same basis to something like Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage?”
Braun’s response: “When it comes to the issues, you can't have it both ways. When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are going to be rules and proceedings, they're going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It's a beauty of the system, and that's where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves. And I'm not saying that rule would apply in general depending on the topic, but it should mostly be in general, because it's hard to have it on issues that you just are interested in when you deny it for others with a different point of view.”
So, yes. United States Sen. Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana, would allow states to ban interracial marriage.
But just to be sure, a reporter followed up: “So you would be OK with the Supreme Court leaving the question of interracial marriage to the states?”
“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. I think that's hypocritical,” Braun answered.
He was then asked about Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that banned states from criminalizing the purchase of birth control by married couples. And yup, he thinks states should get to decide that one, too.
Interracial marriage did not somehow surreptitiously sneak into this conversation, catching Braun unawares. He laid out a theory of how the Supreme Court should operate and was asked, as a follow-up, if he would apply that theory to another clearly identified issue. He said yes. He was asked again. He said yes again. He laid out a consistent view of the law—one that would absolutely allow states to ban interracial marriage or contraceptives just as much as abortion. (And I don’t think it’s any stretch at all to say that if Republicans want the court to reverse the 1967 decision legalizing interracial marriage, they also want to overturn the 2015 marriage equality decision.) The claim that Braun misunderstood or wasn't paying attention is blatantly false, no matter how much he’d like to play stupid now.
Despite his backpeddling, Braun isn’t way out on some limb that no one else in the Republican Party would consider joining him on. Just last month, all three Republicans running for Michigan attorney general said they thought Griswold had been wrongly decided for exactly the same reason Braun gave: states’ rights.
So, yeah. They might like to pretend otherwise when people notice a little too much, but Republicans are coming for your marriage and your birth control.
1965 Supreme Court decision legalizing birth control was wrong, say Michigan Republicans
At least 13 states have introduced legislation to limit or ban abortion since the year’s start