Vice President Kamala Harris called the current Supreme Court an “activist court,” sharpening her criticisms of the body that overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
“I think this is an activist court,” Harris said, when asked if she still had confidence in the high court in a interview clip published Friday with NBC News’ Chuck Todd. “We had an established right for almost half a century, which is the right of women to make decisions about their own body.”
The response marked one of Harris’ sharpest condemnations yet as the White House faces mounting pressure to meet the moment and be more aggressive on abortion rights legislation. The vice president – the Biden administration’s lead messenger on the issue – has been continuously vocal in her opposition to the court’s ruling that struck down the landmark decision that federally protected a woman’s right to the procedure.
Harris added that the decision has caused harm.
“This court took that constitutional right away. And we are suffering as a nation because of it,” she said.
Since the 1973 ruling was overturned, Harris has traveled across the country meeting with stakeholders and state legislators to discuss the impact to their states.
Harris said the court’s actions have caused her “great concern about the integrity of the court overall, especially as someone who my life was inspired by people like Thurgood Marshall, the work on that court of Earl Warren,” citing justices who broke barriers and expanded rights. “It’s a very different court.”
Abortion rights have long been a prominent issue for Harris in her campaigns. When she ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2019, she vowed, if elected, to require states with a history of restricting abortion rights to obtain federal approval before any new abortion law could take effect.
“We cannot tolerate a perspective that is about going backward and not understanding women have agency,” Harris said at the time.
Harris previously spoke to her distrust of certain justices in June, telling CNN in the aftermath of the Dobbs ruling that she “never believed” former President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court picks, whom she voted against in the Senate, would preserve the landmark abortion ruling