President Joe Biden has always been known for uttering gaffes and misstatements, but the frequency of his miscues and mixups seems to have increased dramatically over the past couple of years.
The most recent example occurred Tuesday during a speech in which Biden confused his oft-repeated talking points in an attack on the Supreme Court and jumbled together four separate precedent cases that stemmed from the right to privacy.
Biden ultimately mixed together in a word salad the now-overturned federal right to abortion with the federal rights to contraception, same-sex intercourse, and same-sex marriage.
Biden and married couples in their bedrooms
In the speech he delivered at Howard Theater, President Biden largely focused in on the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in June that reversed the 50-year precedent set by Roe v. Wade and returned to the individual states the right to regulate abortions.
In reference to the court-decided rights based on the fundamental right to privacy, Biden said, “And they’re ingrained in the fabric of this country: the right to make a decision — the best decision for your health; the right to birth control — the right that I pushed hard and it finally got changed — the married couples in the privacy of their bedroom. Excuse me. The mar- — I’m thinking about the Dobbs — the Dobbs decision.”
Joe Biden: “The right that I pushed hard and I finally got changed to marry couples in the privacy of their bedroom.” pic.twitter.com/rQUxvzLglg
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 18, 2022
“Imagine — well, I’ll get to that in a second with Clarence Thomas,” he continued. “But the right to marry who you love.”
“Look, folks, Justice Thomas said as much in his concurring opinion in Dobbs, writing, quote, ‘In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold …’ — we’re getting to the whole idea of contraception — ‘… Lawrence and Obergefell.'”
What Biden was attempting to reference
President Biden, in that jumbled mess of words, was attempting to reference a portion of Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in the Dobbs decision in which he did, in fact, suggest that other precedent rulings based on the same faulty legal premise Roe had been built upon ought to be reconsidered in the future — though that is far from a guarantee that any of those other rulings are doomed to be imminently overturned.
That would include 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut, which guaranteed the right to obtain contraception; 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas, which banned laws against same-sex intercourse; and 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, which extended the right to marriage to same-sex couples.
Biden, who has been railing against the Dobbs decision since it was first leaked earlier this year, has used set talking points to reference each of those precedent cases that are now in question, but in this particular instance, he appears to have mashed together parts of all of those talking points into a nearly incoherent sentence.
It is incidents like this, and the increasingly frequent rate at which they occur, that has resulted in a solid majority of Americans — including a majority of Democrats — expressing their “concern” over the president’s apparently declining mental health and cognitive capabilities.