Senate

Braun walks back remarks criticizing SCOTUS ruling that legalized interracial marriage

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) on Tuesday expressed — and then walked back — opposition to the Supreme Court ruling that legalized interracial marriage.

Braun was on a conference call with reporters from Indiana, discussing court rulings he viewed as federal overreach, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana. The news outlet shared a clip of his remarks in which he was asked whether he would consider it to be judicial activism or legislating from the bench if the Supreme Court strikes down the right to an abortion.

The court is set to rule on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban later this year, with many expecting the 6-3 conservative court to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that enshrined abortion rights.

“I consider it to have been judicial activism when it occurred back almost 50 years ago,” Braun answered, referring to Roe v. Wade.

“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 contour of America then. And this basically puts it back to a point where, like most of these issues where one side of the aisle wants to homogenize it federally, is not the right way to do it,” he continued.

Braun indicated that he believes the question of abortion should have been left to each state to decide individually.

“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. Quit trying to put the federal government in charge of not only things like we did navigating through COVID recently, where I think that was misguided, but in general. So no, I think this takes it back to a point where it should have never gotten beyond in the first place.”

Braun was pressed on whether he believed the same arguments — to allow the states to decide for themselves — should also apply to the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which allowed for interracial marriage nationwide.

The Indiana senator said that “when it comes to 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,” Braun said.

“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.”

Braun was again asked if the question of interracial marriage should be have been left 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,” he said.

He later added that it was better for states to “manifest their points of view” rather than for decisions that “homogenize” the country.

In a statement to The Hill later Tuesday, Braun said that he “misunderstood” the question as posed.

“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,” he said.

A spokesperson told The Hill that Braun believes Loving v. Virginia should not be overturned.

The Times of Northwest Indiana noted that Braun had been asked about the subject in different ways and several times to make sure he understood the nature of the question. 

Senate