‘They set a torch to it’: Warren says court lost legitimacy with Roe reversal

·4 min read
<span>Photograph: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

Leading Democrats on Sunday continued calling the supreme court’s legitimacy into question after it took away the nationwide right to abortion last week, and some again lobbied for appointing additional justices to the panel so as to blunt the conservative super-majority which made the controversial ruling possible.

Related: Abortion banned in multiple US states just hours after Roe v Wade overturned

The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren suggested to ABC’s This Week that there was urgency to do that because supreme court justice Clarence Thomas indicated within Friday’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade ruling that he’s open to reconsidering precedents guaranteeing contraception, same-sex marriage rights and consensual gay sex.

“They have burned whatever legitimacy they may still have had,” Warren said of the supreme court. “They just took the last of it and set a torch to it.”

Warren joined Georgia gubernatorial candidate and Democratic organizer Stacey Abrams in again lobbying to expand the supreme court in a way that balances the current makeup of six conservatives and three liberals.

Joe Biden has rejected the strategy. But Abrams – who’s also previously served in Georgia’s house of representatives – said the president doesn’t have the final word on the matter, with legislators also having a potential say.

“There’s nothing sacrosanct about nine members of the United States supreme court,” Abrams said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Warren didn’t just once again mention the idea of abolishing the filibuster, a delaying tactic that both parties use to prevent legislative decisions, which Biden and centrist Democrats have also rejected.

She also urged Biden to issue orders shielding medication abortions and authorizing the terminations of pregnancies on federal land.

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, the New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez argued that drastic measures were justified.

Related: Trying to avoid burn-out: a Colorado abortion clinic braces for even more patients

“I believe that the president and the Democratic party needs to come to terms with is that this is not just a crisis of Roe – this is a crisis of our democracy,” Ocascio-Cortez said.

The congresswoman also said the supreme court was undergoing “a crisis of legitimacy”, making it a point to allude to how Thomas’s wife, Ginni, emailed 29 Republican lawmakers in Arizona as she tried to help overturn Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

“The supreme court has dramatically overreached its authority,” Ocascio-Cortez said. “This is a crisis of legitimacy.”

Speaking from a Republican point of view on another program, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem fawningly said it was “incredible” that reproductive laws had been returned to the states. South Dakota is one of 13 states where trigger laws banning most abortions came into effect after Friday’s decision.

“The supreme court did its job: it fixed a wrong decision it made many years ago and returned this power back to the states, which is how the constitution and our founders intended it,” Noem told CBS’ Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan”.

Related: World leaders condemn US abortion ruling as ‘backwards step’

South Dakota, she said, would ensure that “babies are recognized and that every single life is precious”.

The governor said the state would move to block Democratic efforts to allow access to out-of-state telemedicine and the ability of health practitioners in legal abortion states to provide pills in the mail that would allow them to end a pregnancy.

Noem voiced that abortion pills were “very dangerous medical procedures”, though Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan correctly pointed out that the pills were approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Nonetheless, Noem insisted, saying, “A woman is five times more likely to end up in an emergency room if they’re utilizing this kind of method for an abortion.

“It’s something that should be under the supervision of a medical doctor and it is something in South Dakota that we’ve made sure happens that way.”

The governor, a rising star in Republican circles, said that mothers would not be prosecuted for receiving abortions, rather the state planned to target illegal abortion providers.

“We will make sure that mothers have the resources, protection and medical care that they need and we’re being aggressive on that. And we’ll also make sure that the federal government only does its job,” Noem added.

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