May 4, 2022
Senator Schumer & McConnell and President Biden reactions to leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion in pending case regarding abortion. 5/03/22 Transcript
Senator Schumer & McConnell and President Biden reactions to leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion in pending case regarding abortion. 5/03/22 Read the transcript here.
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Senator Schumer: (00:00)
Mr. President: (00:01)
The Majority Leader.
Senator Schumer: (00:03)
Mr. President, this is a dark and disturbing-
Mr. President: (00:06)
… We’re in a quorum call.
Senator Schumer: (00:07)
I ask unanimous consent The quorum be dispensed with.
Mr. President: (00:09)
Senator Schumer: (00:10)
Mr. President, this is a dark and disturbing morning for America. Last night, a report disclosed that a conservative majority of the United States Supreme Court is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade and uproot decades of precedent affirming a woman’s right to an abortion. If this report is accurate, the Supreme Court is poised to inflict the greatest restriction of rights in the past 50 years. Not just on women, but on all Americans. Under this decision, our children will have less rights than their parents. The Republican appointed justices reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade will go down as an abomination. One of the worst, most damaging decisions in modern history. Several of these conservative justices, who are in no way accountable to the American people, have lied to the U.S. Senate, ripped up the constitution, and defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court’s reputation. All at the expense of tens of millions of women who could soon be stripped of their bodily autonomy and the constitutional rights they’ve relied on for over half a century. The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump.
Senator Schumer: (01:48)
Every Republican senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump justices, pretending that this day would never come, will now have to explain themselves to the American people. I’ll have more to say later this morning, but I want to make three things clear. First, now that the court is poised to strike down Roe, it is my intention for the Senate to hold a vote on legislation to codify the right to an abortion in law. Second, a vote on this legislation is not an abstract exercise. This is as urgent and real as it gets. We will vote to protect a woman’s right to choose. And every American is going to see which side every Senator stands. Every American is going to see on which side every Senator stands. Third, to the American people. I say this, the elections this November will have consequences because the rights of 100,000,000 women are now on the ballot.
Senator Schumer: (03:03)
To help fight this court’s awful decision, I urge every American to make their voices heard this week and this year. I urge Americans to call their members, to write their members, to email their members, to text their members. And most of all, to cast their ballots. Make no mistake, the blame for this decision falls squarely on Republican senators and the Senate Republicans as a whole, who spent years pushing extremist judges, spent years confirming three far right justices to the Supreme Court, but who claimed somehow this day would never come. But this day has come and we will fight it all the way. I yield the floor.
Senator McConnell: (03:56)
For years, the radical left has attacked the institution of the Supreme Court. Last night, it appears their campaign hit a new low. Historically, the justices, clerks, and staff have prized and protected the court’s confidentiality. The justices must be able to discuss and deliberate in an environment of total trust and privacy. Americans cannot receive a fair trial if politicians, pundits, bullies and mobs get a say in court. Judicial independence is vital, but the far left has spent years shamelessly attacking it. Democrats in Congress have endorsed plans for partisan court packing. They’ve sent the justices threatening legal briefs. They’ve scheduled sham hearings to smear judges. In 2020, the Senate Democratic Leader marched across the street to the court and shouted threats, threats at multiple justices by name, if they didn’t rule how he wanted.
Senator McConnell: (05:17)
In 2018, activists literally chased senators around the capital. And now last night, a shocking, shocking new breach. Somebody, likely somebody inside the court itself, leaked a confidential internal draft to the press. Almost certainly in an effort to stir up an inappropriate pressure campaign to sway an outcome. The radical left immediately rallied around the toxic stunt. The cheerleaders for partisan court packing applauded, what they suggested was the work of, “A brave clerk,” making a last ditch Hail Mary attempt to cause a political firestorm and cause the court to reconsider.
Senator McConnell: (06:18)
Liberals want to rip the blindfold off Lady Justice. They want to override impartiality with intimidation. They want to elevate mob rule over the rule of law. The same political movement that used a leak to move up the timeline of Justice Breyer’s retirement process is trying to use yet another leak to make the court less secure and less impartial. Never before, never before in modern history has an internal draft been leaked to the public while the justices were still deciding a case. Never before. Whoever committed this lawless act knew exactly what it could bring about.
Senator McConnell: (07:18)
The justices already require security. Less than two weeks ago, an unbalanced person lit himself on fire on the court steps. Less than three years ago, a liberal mob tried to storm the court shoving past law enforcement and pounding on the doors. Look, everybody knows what kind of climate the far left is trying to fuel. One that is antithetical, antithetical to the rule of law. Right on cue, top Democrats began publishing wild statements about what the court might decide, packed with using unhinged rhetoric that could easily incite light a match. So what else happened? Activists flocked to the court.
Senator McConnell: (08:27)
An angry crowd surrounded the court, chanting justice’s names. Their renewed calls to smash the institutions of both the Senate and the court at the same time. One of the court’s most essential and sacred features was smashed just to buy the outrage industrial complex a few extra days to scream nonsense about what the court might rule. This lawless action should be investigated and punished to the fullest extent possible. The fullest extent possible. I’m certain the Chief Justice will seek to get to the bottom of this. If a crime was committed, The Department of Justice must pursue it completely.
Senator McConnell: (09:39)
So listen, I want all nine justices to know there are still principled senators who have their backs, no matter what. There are still some people in this capital and the majority in the Senate whose support for the rule of law is not conditional. Not conditional. The court should tune out the bad faith noise and feel completely free to do their jobs. They should follow the facts and the law, wherever that leads. As I’ve warned in the past, courts bowing to activist pressure would never enhance judicial legitimacy. It could only erode it. And the hostage takers would never settle for half a loaf.
Speaker 4: (10:43)
What’d you think of the ruling or the draft leak, sir?
President Biden: (10:48)
First of all, I just got a call saying that it’s been announced that it is a real draft, but it doesn’t represent who’s going to vote for it yet. I hope there are not enough votes for it. It’s the main reason why I worked so hard to keep Robert Bork off the court. This reflects his view almost… Anyway. Look, the idea that… It concerns me a great deal that we’re going to have to, after 50 years, decide a woman does not have the right to choose within the limits of a Supreme Court decision. Number one. Even more equally profound, the rational used. And it would mean that every other decision related to the notion of privacy is thrown into question.
President Biden: (12:01)
I realize this goes back a long way. But one of the debates I had with Robert Bork was whether Griswold v. Connecticut should stand as law. The state of Connecticut said that the privacy of your bedroom, a husband and wife, or a couple could not choose to use contraception. The use of contraception was a violation of the law. If the rational of the decision, as released, were to be sustained, a whole range of rights are in question. A whole range of rights. The idea we’re letting the states make those decisions, localities make those decisions, would be a fundamental shift from what we’ve done. So it goes far beyond, in my view, if it becomes a law, and if what is written is what remains, goes far beyond the concern of whether or not there’s the right to choose. It goes to other basic rights. The right to marry. The right to determine a whole range of things.
President Biden: (12:59)
Because one of the issues that this court, many of the members of the court, a number the members of the court, have not acknowledged is that there is a right to privacy in our constitution. I strongly believe there is. I think the decision in Griswold was a correct overruling. I think the decision in Roe was correct, because there’s a right to privacy. There can be limitations on it, but it cannot be denied.
Speaker 6: (13:24)
Do you think, Mr. President, this leak has irreparably changed the court?
President Biden: (13:27)
I beg your pardon?
Speaker 6: (13:28)
Do you Think that this leak has irreparably changed the court? We’ve never seen this happen before.
President Biden: (13:34)
Well, if this decision holds, it’s really quite a radical decision. And again, the underlying premise… And again, I’ve not had a chance to thoroughly join to the report, the decision. But it basically says all the decisions related to your private life, who you marry, whether or not you decide to conceive a child or not, whether or not you can have an abortion, a range of other decisions, whether or not how you raise your child. What does this do? Does this mean that in Florida they can decide they’re going to pass the law saying that same sex marriage is not permissible? It’s against the law in Florida? So there’s a whole… It’s a fundamental shift in American justice prudence. [crosstalk 00:14:22].
Speaker 7: (14:21)
Is that a new way with the filibuster to codify Roe?
President Biden: (14:28)
I’m not prepared to make those judgements now about… But I think the codification of Roe makes a lot of sense. Look, think what Roe says. Roe says what all basic mainstream religions have historically concluded. That the existence of a human life and being is the question. Is it at the moment of conception? Is it six months? Is it six weeks? Is it quickening like Aquinas argued? I mean, so the idea that we’re going to make a judgment that is going to say that no one can make the judgment to choose to abort a child based on a decision by the Supreme Court, I think goes way overboard.
Speaker 8: (15:22)
Thank you. Thank you, guys.
Speaker 9: (15:28)
The midterms. What do this mean for the Democrats argument in the midterm?
President Biden: (15:28)
I haven’t thought that through yet.
Speaker 6: (15:30)
Do changes need to be made to the court in light of this, if this decision holds?
President Biden: (15:34)
I beg your pardon?
Speaker 6: (15:34)
Do changes need to be made to the court in light of this, if this decision holds?
President Biden: (15:37)
No, we just have to choose… I mean, look, one of the reasons why I voted against a number of the members in the court, they refuse to acknowledge that there’s a ninth amendment. They refuse to acknowledge the right to privacy. I mean, there’s so many fundamental rights that are affected by that. And I’m not prepared to leave that to the whims of the public at the moment in local areas. Thank you so much.
Speaker 8: (16:03)
Thank you, guys. Come on, guys.