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Biden promised to restore trust in US institutions but keeps assailing Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, under Biden's tenure has issued a number of sweeping rulings on key political issues such as abortion, gun control, and most recently, affirmative action, none of which have gone Biden's way.

Published: June 29, 2023 11:19pm

President Joe Biden, throughout his 2020 presidential campaign, vowed that he would work to restore America's faith in the nation's public institutions. Yet in the face of Supreme Court decisions upending his preferred policies, he has continuously attacked, or at least questioned, the credibility and legitimacy of the judicial branch.

The Supreme Court under Biden's administration has issued several rulings on such key political issues as abortion, gun control and most recently affirmative action – none of which have gone the Democrat president's way.

Following the high court's 6-3 ruling Thursday that said colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration as a specific basis for granting admission, Biden said, "While the court can render a decision, it cannot change what America stands for."

At the conclusion of his remarks from the White House, a reporter asked Biden whether this was a "rogue court," to which he replied, "This is not a normal court."

Former President Donald Trump appointed three members of the current Supreme Court, which has often fueled left-wing activists to suggest appointing additional, left-leaning justices to minimize the Republicans' impact. Biden has, however, rejected such an approach.

In an interview Thursday on MSNBC, Biden pushed back against so-called "court-packing," saying, "If we start the process of trying to expand the court, we’re going to politicize it maybe forever in a way that’s not healthy."

He has, however, repeatedly questioned the conservative-leaning court's decisions on politically sensitive cases and suggested the judiciary was acting outside the norm in issuing its decisions, or at least appearing to questioning its legitimacy.

On affirmative action

Despite his opposition to packing the court, Biden did not hesitate to fume at the court's conservative majority over the affirmative action decision, telling MSNBC it has "done more to unravel basic rights and basic decisions than any court in recent history."

He also attempted to clarify his earlier "not normal" comment by saying, "Take a look at how it's ruled on a number of issues that have been precedent for 50, 60 years sometimes. And that’s what I meant."

On abortion

The Supreme Court last year overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, ending the constitutional right to obtain an abortion and permitting the states to regulate the procedure.

At the time, Biden called the ruling "the culmination of a deliberate effort over decades to upset the balance of our law."

He further painted the court as having been influenced by political extremism, saying "[i]t’s a realization of an extreme ideology and a tragic error by the Supreme Court."

"The court has done what it has never done before: expressly take away a constitutional right that is so fundamental to so many Americans that had already been recognized," he continued.

On gun control

Last year, the court also issued a landmark gun control decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen in which it struck down a state requirement that a concealed carry permit applicant demonstrate the need to carry a firearm before obtaining a permit. 

The court further determined that any control control legislation must be consistent with the view of the crafters of the Second Amendment.

Biden again, portrayed such a ruling as defying logic and legal basis, saying "the United States Supreme Court has chosen to strike down New York’s long-established authority to protect its citizens. This ruling contradicts both common sense and the Constitution, and should deeply trouble us all."

The court's legitimacy has come under scrutiny

In the same MSNBC interview Thursday, Biden suggested the court was acutely aware of its position in the eyes of the public amid the series of controversial rulings.

"Maybe it’s just the optimist in me," he said "I think that some [on] the court are beginning to realize their legitimacy is being questioned in ways that it hadn’t been questioned in the past," he said.

While Biden has largely refrained from singling out individual justices on the top bench, other individuals and organizations have appear to have gone on the attack.

Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, members of the conservative majority, have fallen under intense scrutiny in the wake of critical exposes from ProPublica, suggesting each may have violated disclosure requirements by not reporting travel and gifts.

Both deny wrongdoing.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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