Biden on SCOTUS leak: Voters must elect 'more pro-choice Senators' and House members this fall

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Here’s the statement from President Biden on the SCOTUS leak. What’s striking is that this clearly isn’t remotely a statement to all Americans acknowledging that this has long been an issue that divided Americans. Biden isn’t looking to put things in perspective, he’s issuing a campaign statement to his base, a rallying cry for the 2022 election.


Completely absent from this statement is any condemnation of the leak. Instead, Biden fudges that issue by offering the caveat that the leak may not be real. But does anyone in the White House really believe that? Or is this just a way to sidestep the issue of norms that Democrats were very concerned about prior to yesterday? After the caveat, Biden makes three points:

We do not know whether this draft is genuine, or whether it reflects the final decision of the Court.

With that critical caveat, I want to be clear on three points about the cases before the Supreme Court.

First, my administration argued strongly before the Court in defense of Roe v. Wade. We said that Roe is based on “a long line of precedent recognizing ‘the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty’… against government interference with intensely personal decisions.” I believe that a woman’s right to choose is fundamental, Roe has been the law of the land for almost fifty years, and basic fairness and the stability of our law demand that it not be overturned.

Second, shortly after the enactment of Texas law SB 8 and other laws restricting women’s reproductive rights, I directed my Gender Policy Council and White House Counsel’s Office to prepare options for an Administration response to the continued attack on abortion and reproductive rights, under a variety of possible outcomes in the cases pending before the Supreme Court. We will be ready when any ruling is issued.

Third, if the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November.  At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.


His first point is that his administration supports Roe and defended it. Again this is not aimed at Americans it’s aimed at reassuring his base he’s against this decision.

His second point is that his administration will be ready if this decision or one like it is issued. I’m not sure what it is the president thinks the Gender Policy Council, which is Biden’s creation, can do about this. The White House Counsel’s Office similarly doesn’t seem to be in a position to do anything about Roe and Casey being overturned by the Supreme Court. There’s no appealing this so what is it he has in mind, exactly? I saw someone on Twitter last night suggesting today would be a good day to pack the court, but even that would require action by Congress and there’s no way for it to happen with the current split in the Senate.

Which brings us to point three, the naked partisan appeal: “We will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe.” Who is “we” in this sentence? It’s not America. It’s not even all of the Democratic Party.

It took the White House a little more than 12 hours to politicize this leak, which may be precisely what the leaker intended. I still suspect the leaker’s first goal was to apply pressure to the court to change the outcome of the decision before it is issued, but if that fails the leak still gives Democrats more time to campaign on the issue. Because that’s really all Biden can do. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if he starts crisscrossing America with this statement as his new stump speech. For the record, this isn’t the first time Biden has promised to codify Roe.


And in 2019:

Does the White House really believe this will save the party from disaster? I suspect some do believe it but I’m not sure it will work. Roe has been the subject of nearly 50 years of the “Don’t say gay” treatment by the media. As a result, a lot of people who don’t follow the issue closely likely think overturning Roe will mean the end of abortion. But of course it won’t. It will return the issue to the states and the states where progressives dominate the legislatures will see little change, except perhaps that they will erase some existing limits on abortion.

Granted, for some voters this will be the only issue driving them to the polls in November but I suspect a much larger number of Americans will still be primarily concerned about inflation and the economy and on those issues Democrats will still do poorly.


One other point that occurs to me is that Dems were already struggling to hold on to Hispanic voters, in part because of the poor economy and in part because the party’s left flank is so focused on far-left agenda items. Will a zealous crusade to preserve Roe appeal to those voters or will it be the last straw for many of them, confirmation that the Democratic Party is no longer the party for them. I won’t make a prediction but I think it’s an open question.

Clearly the White House has decided that the chance to politicize this leak is the best political news they’ve had in a while. Biden’s most devoted spokesperson is already falling in line.

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David Strom 6:00 AM | May 23, 2024