by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden’s sweeping liberal policy priorities already face a recalcitrant Senate. But he is increasingly finding his agenda at odds with another adversary: the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s decision this week not to block Texas’s “heartbeat” abortion ban is its latest ruling that undermines a liberal cause. The justices already lifted Biden’s eviction moratorium, but it refused to roll back Arizona’s election reforms. And the decisions push the Supreme Court back into the political spotlight before next year’s midterm elections.
If the Supreme Court overturns the landmark abortion case Roe. v Wade, it will be a tipping point for Biden and the institution as critics complain that the Republican-appointed majority of justices has turned the bench into an activist court, according to Matthew Green, a Catholic University of America politics professor.
“When the court has been very active or activist in setting precedent, overturning past precedent, in one particular judicial, philosophical, ideological direction, there’s been a reaction,” Green told the Washington Examiner. “And it could be far more activist in this upcoming term than it has in a long time.”
Biden, a former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman who oversaw Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s confirmation and Robert Bork’s failed nomination, excoriated the court this week for wreaking “unconstitutional chaos” by allowing the Texas six-week abortion law to go into effect on procedural grounds.
“This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest,” he wrote in one of two statements released this week regarding the Texas law. “And it not only empowers complete strangers to inject themselves into the most private of decisions made by a woman — it actually incentivizes them to do so with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case.”
Biden had previously only issued two personal statements concerning Supreme Court decisions since his January inauguration: when the court upheld Obamacare and Arizona’s election integrity laws.