White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden ‘believes in peaceful protest’ when asked Friday if activists should try and influence conservative Supreme Court justices into not overturning Roe v. Wade.
The comments came a day after she refused to condemn plans for protesters to show up at the homes of the right-leaning justices, after a leaked draft of an opinion suggested they planned to overturn the landmark 1973 abortion case – throwing the decision of whether abortion is legal back to the states.
Psaki, holding her final press gaggle on board Air Force One, was asked by a reporter: ‘Does the president want protesters to influence Supreme Court justices so they uphold Roe?’
She pointed to Biden’s belief in peaceful protest, while adding that he also believes in the ‘the independence of the third branch of government.’
‘So I wouldn’t say he has a view on that,’ Psaki responded. ‘He believes in peaceful protests, but they’re going to make the decisions they make and we’re not going to prejudge a final opinion.’
At Thursday’s press briefing – where Psaki’s successor Karine Jean-Pierre was officially announced – the outgoing press secretary was asked by Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy about a Fox report that said pro-choice activists – under the moniker ‘Ruth Sent Us,’ after the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – published the likely home addresses of Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts.
‘Look, I think the president’s view is that there’s a lot of passion, a lot of fear, a lot of sadness from many, many people across this country about what they saw in that leaked document,’ Psaki said. ‘We obviously want people’s privacy to be respected.’
She added to the query, ‘I don’t have an official U.S. Government position on where people protest.’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden ‘believes in peaceful protests’ when asked Friday if activists should try and influence conservative Supreme Court justices into not overturning Roe v. Wade
On Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to condemn plans for protests to take place outside of conservative Supreme Court justices’ homes over the leaked draft opinion that suggests they plan to overturn Roe v. Wade
Reporting surrounding the leak of the draft opinion by Alito – which overturns the landmark 1973 abortion case that nationally legalized the termination of pregnancies – suggests he would be joined by Barrett, Kavanaugh, Thomas and Gorsuch.
Roberts, who has voted with liberals on some key issues like Obamacare, reportedly wouldn’t completely overturn the ruling.
‘Is that the kind of thing this president wants to help your side make their point?’ Doocy asked at Thursday’s press briefing.
‘We want people to protest peacefully if they want to protest. That is certainly what the president’s view would be,’ Psaki said.
She went on, ‘I think we shouldn’t lose the point here.’
‘The reason people are protesting is because women across the country are worried about their fundamental rights – that had been law for 50 years – their rights to make choices about their own bodies and their own healthcare are at risk,’ the press secretary said. ‘That’s why people are protesting. They’re unhappy. They’re scared.’
During the briefing, she also suggested conservatives were making too big of a fuss about the leak.
‘I think what is happening here and what we think is happening here is there is an effort to distract from what the actual issue here, which is the fundamental rights,’ she told reporters.
Pro-choice activists gathered outside the Supreme Court on Thursday. Some activists have suggested protesting outside the homes of conservative Supreme Court justices under the moniker of ‘Ruth Sent Us,’ after the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
A woman with a bullhorn stands outside the Supreme Court Thursday at a demonstration urging Supreme Court justices to keep abortion legal nationally
‘I don’t think they’re at the same level. We don’t think they’re at the same level,’ she added.
She pointed out that there was already a call for an investigation from the leadership of the Supreme Court and decisions about a probe would be made by the Department of Justice.
‘That’s how government is set up,’ she noted.
She then reiterated her point that the leak and the content of the draft should not be equated in terms of seriousness.
‘But at the same time, what we’ve also seen … is many Republicans, who are trying ot overturn a woman’s fundamentals rights, try to make this about the leak. This is not about the leak,’ she argued. ‘This is about women’s healthcare, and women having access to healthcare and making choies with their doctors.’
‘And we are working to not allow that to be the distraction,’ Psaki said.