Oh, Sen. Mike Braun, what are we going to do with you?
On March 22, Braun held a press call where he discussed the hearings of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson and judicial activism — especially as it relates to the conservative go-to issue of the last four decades, Roe v. Wade.
Braun said he believed the U.S. Supreme Court overstepped in Roe v. Wade and should’ve let individual states determine the legality of abortion. He said judicial activism is the culprit for this ruling. Braun’s whole premise is based on his assumption that Indiana would’ve banned abortions if given the choice. While that is likely the case, it isn’t a certainty. Let’s just say Braun’s imaginary utopia went all wrong and Indiana legalized abortion. In this alternate reality, Braun would then argue the Supreme Court needs to step in and outlaw abortions across the nation. He would want judicial activism when it favors his point of view.
This isn’t the world we live in, though, and abortion is legal, so I’ll get back to the point of this column and how Braun made a fool of himself.
During the call, Times of Northwest Indiana reporter Dan Carden followed up with a logical question after Braun said states should have the right to make such decisions. Carden asked if Braun felt the same way about Loving v. Virginia, which outlawed banning interracial marriage in this country.
Well, this is where Braun put his entire foot in his mouth.
“When it comes to issues, you can’t have it both ways,” Braun said. “When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are going to be rules and proceedings that are going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It’s the beauty of the system, and that’s where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves.”
About five hours later, Braun backtracked, saying he “misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage.” I listened to the question more than once, and I watched Braun give a response more than once. It didn’t look like a misunderstanding occurred. He didn’t seem confused. He didn’t ask for the question to be repeated. He seemed confident in his answer. The reporter followed up with another question along the same line. “So, you would be OK with the Supreme Court leaving the question of interracial marriage to the states?”
Braun, again looking clear-eyed and very confident in his answer, 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. I think that’s hypocritical.”
Carden then asked about another case, Griswold vs. Connecticut.
Braun said, “Well, you can list a whole host of issues. 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 we’re better off having states manifest their points of view rather than homogenizing it across the country as Roe v. Wade did.”
Again, Braun didn’t seem confused to me.
This is what happens when you make things an absolute — you make a fool out of yourself. You don’t have any wiggle room to adjust when it makes sense.
But you know what? I believe Braun spoke his truth. He doesn’t believe the Supreme Court should’ve ruled on interracial marriage. The conservative argument for states’ rights is older than their argument against abortion. If I was playing the drinking game where I had to take a shot every time I heard states’ rights or abortion from a conservative, I’d never be sober. If I had a nickel for every time those words were uttered, I’d never be poor.
What I want to know from Braun is what cases should the Supreme Court take and rule on? Why do we even have a Supreme Court? If we left everything up to states, it’s possible we would have states where “separate but equal” would still be the law of the land.
But maybe Braun would be OK with that.
By the way, why even have senators at the federal level creating legislation for the entire country? Doesn’t that interfere with states’ rights, Sen. Braun? What would your job be then?