Vice President Kamala Harris took aim at the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court this weekend during an interview with NBC host Chuck Todd.
Her comments were met with harsh criticism, however, with one of America’s foremost constitutional experts taking the vice president to task.
Specifically, Harris accused the nation’s highest judicial body of becoming “an activist court” when it overturned a half-century of precedent this year by ruling that there is no constitutionally protected right to abortion.
EXCLUSIVE: Vice President Kamala Harris says the Supreme Court is “an activist court” for overturning Roe v. Wade.@VP: “We had an established right for almost half a century. … This court took that constitutional right away. And we are suffering as a nation because of it.” pic.twitter.com/Tmv955n4Bx
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) September 9, 2022
However, George Washington University professor and constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley took issue with Harris’ remarks in a post to his blog.
“The fact that the Court overturned a long-standing precedent does not mean that it is an ‘activist court,'” Turley wrote.
“As I have previously noted, justices take an oath to uphold the Constitution and to ‘faithfully and impartially’ interpret the law,” he continued.
“It is bizarre to argue that they should vote for some interpretation of the Constitution that they believe is wrong and unfounded just to preserve precedent,” Turley declared.
Logic doesn’t add up
The legal professor then pointed out how important cases regarding civil rights would have been decided differently had the Supreme Court only been concerned with matters of precedent.
“If that view had prevailed in the past, Brown v. Board of Education would have upheld the racist precepts of ‘separate but equal’ in Plessy v. Ferguson,” Turley noted. “When it comes to fundamental rights, justices should faithfully interpret the Constitution.”
“There may be a greater hold of precedent in statutory interpretations (since Congress can address erroneous or conflicting interpretations),” he acknowledged.
“However, in the interpretation of the Constitution, justices are fulfilling an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”