Sen. Mike Lee says overturning Roe v Wade ‘enables’ democracy, not overthrows it

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Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, appeared on “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy” to discuss his perspective on the Supreme Court draft leak over Roe v. Wade.

As liberals and Democrat lawmakers warn that overturning Roe v. Wade could be removing a woman’s right to an abortion, Lee responded that the right to an abortion is not identified in the U.S. Constitution.

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Sen. Mike Lee says overturning Roe v Wade 'enables' democracy, not overthrows it

Utah Senator Mike Lee
(Reuters)

“A right is something the government can’t do to you. There is nothing in the Constitution that identifies abortion as something that’s protected by the U.S. Constitution, consequently consistent with the Tenth Amendment and the structure and the original constitution as well,” Lee said. “Those powers that are not granted to the federal government and that are not prohibited by the government to the states are reserved to the states or to the people. Those are the same thing.”

He added, “When we reserve power to the states we are reserving it for the people. That’s why abortion, while a significant issue of public policy discussion and an issue about which people have strong moral, religious and policy views, as important as those issues may be, they are not appropriate for policy decision-making by five lawyers dressed up in robes. These are matters left up to the people.” 

On claims that overruling Roe v. Wade could lead to overturning gay or interracial marriage, Lee explained the difference between cases over marriage and cases over abortion.

“That’s a different provision of the Constitution. That’s the equal protection clause. That’s something that prohibits the states from discriminating on the basis of race. It’s a totally different issue than we are discussing here. Nothing does that with regards to abortion,” Lee said.

Sen. Mike Lee says overturning Roe v Wade 'enables' democracy, not overthrows it

Demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday, May 4, 2022 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

He later criticized liberals for suggesting that the draft opinion could “overthrow democracy,” insisting that the opposite is true.

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“All those who are attacking that opinion are suggesting that somehow this is going to be a huge problem. They are saying that it’s overthrowing democracy. Nonsense. This actually enables democratic processes. If you want to talk about something thwarting democratic processes, it’s Roe v. Wade which has taken people out of the equation altogether,” he said.

Lee d by condemning the original leak of the draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, under whom Lee previously clerked.

“It’s a huge deal because the whole point of all these procedures the court has, the whole reason why the court maintains such confidentiality restrictions is because the court has exactly one opportunity at the end of each case to render a decision, and it wants to make sure by the time it releases that to the public, the nine justices knows where everyone on the court stands,” Lee said. “It can take months to work all that out for each justice to decide which decision to join, whether to dissent on their own, write a concurrent opinion on their own.” 

Sen. Mike Lee says overturning Roe v Wade 'enables' democracy, not overthrows it

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington. Seated from left are Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Standing from left are Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
(AP)

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“And to release this before their work is complete provides an inaccurate snapshot in time, and it’s not fair to the process. This will do irreparable harm to the court if it’s left there,” he concluded.

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