Legal experts were shocked on Tuesday when Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) argued that states should have the right to ban interracial couples from getting married.
"U.S. Sen. Mike Braun would welcome the U.S. Supreme Court rescinding its 1967 ruling that legalized interracial marriage nationwide in favor of allowing each of the 50 states to decide such issues on their own," The Times of Northwest Indiana reported Tuesday. "Speaking Tuesday on a conference call with Indiana reporters, the Hoosier senator unambiguously declared his belief that many of the high court's key civil rights decisions of the past 70 years were wrongly decided and an improper usurpation of state's rights."
Braun argued for "states rights" on Roe v. Wade, which established the right to abortion; Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage; and Griswold vs. Connecticut, which established the right to contraceptive use.
Attorney Bradley Moss described Braun's comments as "letting the mask slip..."
Ben LaBolt, Biden White House advisor for Supreme Court nominations, was surprised by Braun's thinking.
"At this point I have to ask, what are some of these Republican Senators doing??" LaBolt wrote.
Eric Columbus, who was a Judiciary Committee counsel for then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), put Braun's comments in the context of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation.
"Senator Mike Braun says a state should have been allowed to prevent Ketanji Brown Jackson from marrying her husband," Columbus wrote.
Attorney and Vox writer Ian Millhiser imagined the far-right Federalist Society rushing to defend Braun:
Fun Fact: The Federalist Society bowtie has a silhouette of a literal slaveholder on it.— Ian Millhiser (@Ian Millhiser) 1647981707
Attorney Ken White suggested Braun's comments advance the perspective that "conservatives want to pack the courts to claw back rights established for many decades."
Conservatives: liberals are engaged in hysterical fearmongering by suggesting conservatives want to pack the courts to claw back rights established for many decades\n\nAlso conservatives:https://twitter.com/nkellyatJG/status/1506350898913685511?s=20&t=vS41Nm9NphqRGd7TTlTSbQ\u00a0\u2026— RacistAFBabiesHat (@RacistAFBabiesHat) 1647982646
Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) put Braun's comments in the larger context of things he says "McConnell Republicans" want to ban.
Things mcconnell republicans want to ban\n\nBooks\nContraceptives\nInterracial marriage\nWoman's control over her body\nVoting rights\nEnvironmental protections\nLabor freedom\nCorporate accountabilityhttps://twitter.com/nkellyatJG/status/1506350898913685511\u00a0\u2026— Bill Pascrell, Jr. \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Bill Pascrell, Jr. \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1647982002
But as LA Times reporter Nolan McCaskill noted, McConnell himself has been in an interracial marriage for decades.
Leader McConnell and former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao have an interracial marriage of almost 30 yearshttps://twitter.com/nkellyatJG/status/1506350898913685511\u00a0\u2026— Nolan D. McCaskill (@Nolan D. McCaskill) 1647981341
MSNBC's Andrew Joyce wondered McConnell's thoughts on Braun's comments.
How does Mitch McConnell feel about Sen. Braun saying that states should be able to invalidate McConnell's own marriage?https://twitter.com/HeartlandSignal/status/1506375171455819777\u00a0\u2026— Andrew Joyce (@Andrew Joyce) 1647983314
Braun is now attempting to walk back his comments, at least as they pertain to Loving v. Virginia.
Sen Braun walks back his comments, saying he "misunderstood" the question.\n\n"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..."https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/us-sen-mike-braun-scotus-should-leave-abortion-interracial-marriage-to-states\u00a0\u2026— Julie Tsirkin (@Julie Tsirkin) 1647983624