democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler suggested Tuesday that Judge Clarence Thomas did not propose to revisit the proceedings supreme court Judgment that legalized interracial marriage because he himself is married to a white woman.
Debate on the House floor turned heated as the Democratic-majority chamber prepares to move forward with its Respect for Marriage bill, which aims to codify same-sex marriage.
The bill is a response to Thomas’ consensus view in the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which removed abortion rights from federal law and returned them to state jurisdiction.
While Judge Samuel Alito clarified in his principal opinion that he focused solely on abortion, Thomas sounded alarm bells within the progressive community by suggesting that the court next consider the landmark cases involving same-sex marriage, same-sex intimacy and legalization legalized, could revisit right for married couples to use contraception.
Nadler noted Tuesday that regarding the 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia, Thomas “for some reason didn’t mention Loving — which is an interracial marriage.”
“Maybe the fact that he’s married to each other, just like Senator McConnell,” Nadler said. “Maybe that has something to do with it.”
It’s not clear what prompted him to include McConnell in the conversation. The Kentucky Republican is married to Elaine Chao, a Chinese-American immigrant who served as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Transportation.
Lawmakers are working to enshrine a number of privacy rights into federal law after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling overturned the Roe v. Wade lifted federal abortion protections.
New York Democrat Assemblyman Jerry Nadler dismissed Republican arguments against the Marriage Respect Act as “nonsense.”
Democratic leaders have been sidelined by their angry base for failing to codify abortion rights over the 50 years that Roe has been a precedent.
But the seismic ruling in late June prompted her to act quickly to maintain the protections Thomas dangled over the chopping block, beginning with same-sex marriage.
The Respect For Marriage Act would repeal the controversial Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The law was gutted by the Supreme Court but remains on the books – meaning it could be enforceable again if the 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is lifted.
It also recognizes any lawfully consummated marriage under federal law, and specifically prohibits “denying full confidence and recognition to an out-of-state marriage,” preemptively preventing state legislatures from removing protections for same-sex and multiracial partnerships.
Republican Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana accused Democrats of “fear-mongering” with the bill.
“This is a partisan bill to make partisan arguments and run ads in an election cycle,” Johnson said.
Criticizing Judge Clarence Thomas’ consensus view in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on Tuesday, Nadler noted that Thomas “for some reason didn’t mention loving — which is interracial marriage.” He is married to conservative activist Ginni Thomas, who is white
He pointed to Alito’s main position in the Dobbs case, which specifies that the Conservative majority’s decision relates only to abortion. Thomas also reiterates this in his consensus opinion – before suggesting looking at other cases to revisit those precedents separately.
But Johnson insisted that same-sex marriage rights would not be attacked and that Democrats were “manufacturing” the issue.
“This crisis, this humiliating, divisive debate — an attempt to reopen Pandora’s box that no one but the Democrats has opened. That’s crystal clear,” he said.
Nadler dismissed his argument as “nonsense”.
Seemingly unprompted, Nadler also brought up Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan at the age of 8 and was most recently in the administration as Trump’s Secretary of Transportation
He also urged the Louisiana Republican to refer selectively to Thomas’ opinion to avoid his reference to other landmark cases.
“The substantive logic of due process by which the court brought Roe v Wade down applies equally to Obergefell, Loving, and Lawrence—in other words, to the right to contraception, to the right to gay marriage; on the right to interracial marriage, for that matter,” Nadler said.
“And Judge Thomas made all of that very clear. Yes, he said, “This case doesn’t involve that, we’re not deciding that yet.” That’s the part of his approval that Mr. Johnson read. But read the rest of his consent.’
But Republicans appear to be taking Thomas’ opinion as a signal to further push societal boundaries.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said in a recent episode of his podcast that Obergefell was “clearly wrong.”
Meanwhile, Indiana GOP Senator Mike Braun appeared to agree with the suggestion that he “would be fine if the Supreme Court left the issue of interracial marriage to the states,” according to a journalist from The Young Turks.
Michigan GOP Rep. Lisa McClain told DailyMail.com that Democrats are not focused on “things that matter.”
“At a time when inflation is at 9.1% and the southern border is in full-blown crisis, Congressional Democrats are wasting their time on a marriage bill. Is that really the most pressing problem in our country?’ said McClain.
“How about we focus on things that matter, like cutting gas costs, instead of voting on pointless bills that only get political points?”
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill later Tuesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has shredded the Supreme Court in her own remarks on the floor of the chamber.
“We’re here because just three weeks ago, the Republican-controlled Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade: He took away a woman’s freedom over her most intimate health choices,” Pelosi said.
“These radical judges have brought a wrecking ball to precedent of court and privacy in the Constitution — and put even more of our cherished freedoms on the chopping block.”