Administration

Harris: Thomas ‘said the quiet part out loud’ in questioning other precedents

Vice President Harris said Monday that she believes Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas signaled the court’s ultimate goal is to roll back access to contraception and other rights following its ruling last week reversing Roe vs. Wade’s protections for abortion access.

“I definitely believe this is not over. I do. I think he just said the quiet part out loud, and I think that is why we all must really understand the significance of what just happened,” Harris told CNN’s Dana Bash, referencing Thomas’s concurring opinion from Friday’s ruling.

“This is profound. And the way that this decision has come down has been so driven, I think, by the politics of the issue versus what should be the values that we place on freedom and liberty in our country,” Harris added.

In his separate opinion, Thomas acknowledged that Friday’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization does not directly affect any rights besides abortion. 

But he argued that the constitution’s Due Process Clause does not secure a right to an abortion or any other substantive rights, and he urged the court to apply that reasoning to other landmark cases, including those that established the right to same-sex marriage and the right to access contraceptives.

It’s unclear if the other five conservative justices on the Supreme Court share Thomas’s belief that other precedents should be revisited, but his opinion Friday has triggered alarm bells for liberals.

Harris, who is the first woman elected to the vice presidency, told CNN on Monday that she was “shocked” when the Supreme Court announced its ruling in the Dobbs case, which also overturned the decades-long precedent of Roe v. Wade.

While a draft opinion had leaked roughly six weeks earlier, Harris said, “It’s one thing when you know something’s going to happen, and it’s another thing when it actually happens.”

“The court actually took a constitutional right that has been recognized for half a century and took it from the women of America,” Harris said. “That’s shocking when you think about it in terms of what that means, in terms of democratic principles.”

Tags Abortion Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas Contraception gay rights Joe Biden Kamala Harris Kamala Harris Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Roe v. Wade

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