A handful of 2024 Republican presidential candidates made the Sunday morning cable news rounds expressing their support for the controversial trio of Supreme Court decisions handed down last week that have prompted calls from the left for “packing” the court.
In a matter of two days, the Supreme Court ruled against affirmative action policies in college admissions, against President Biden’s student loan bailout and in favor of a graphic designer’s free speech right to refuse creating wedding websites for same-sex couples.
Former Vice President Mike Pence voiced support for all three Supreme Court decisions during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“From the moment the Supreme Court recognized a same-sex marriage, the court had made a commitment that they would still respect the freedom of religion and the freedom of conscience of every American,” he said, referring to the web designer case.
On the affirmative action case, Pence argued that what may have been a necessary solution to discrimination on college campuses in the 1960s is no longer needed in today’s environment.
“It’s a great, great credit to the extraordinary accomplishments that minority students have had on our campuses,” he said. “And I really do believe that we can move forward as a country and embrace the notion that we’re all going to be judged not on the color of our skin but on the content of our character and, in this case, on our GPA.”
On the student loan decision, Pence echoed conservative sentiments that the president’s plan would have unfairly hurt working people.
“The majority of people that would have benefited from this student loan forgiveness are people with multiple graduate degrees,” he said. “So you’re going to say to working Americans, to truck drivers, to people working in the trades, ‘We’re going to take your taxes and pay down part of the student debt of doctors and lawyers and Ph.D.s.'”
Former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told “Fox News Sunday” the web designer case was a “fantastic win for individual liberty and freedom.”
“First of all, the Democrats are upset because things didn’t go their way, but the people won. This is about empowering people in their rights,” she said. “Gay people have the right to marry the same way a web designer has the right to say, according to their religion, they don’t want to do it. So, the people won in these cases.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on CNN’s “State of the Union” the decision in the web designer case is being mischaracterized as being discriminatory against LGBTQ people.
“This business has no right not to serve people who are a protected class,” he argued. “But by the same token, the government doesn’t have the right to tell a business the nature of how they need to use their expressive abilities. And so the fact is that this business can’t deny LGBTQ people, couples from coming in and trying to, you know, access this business. That’s not the case at all. It’s a mischaracterization of it.”
Former Rep. Will Hurd of Texas said on “State of the Union” that the high court’s ruling in the web designer case made him “uncomfortable” but that speech must be protected regardless.
“This was about protecting a person’s ability to express themselves,” he said. “And I’ll be frank: This decision makes me uncomfortable because we’re protecting speech that I don’t agree with, and I don’t agree personally with anti-LGBTQ sentiment. But we have to be protecting the speech even if we don’t like or agree with that speech. That’s a foundational element in our country.”
Progressives have renewed their calls to expand or “pack” the composition of the Supreme Court and impose terms for justices after the court’s decision Thursday in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and its decisions Friday in Biden v. Nebraska and 303 Creative LLC. v. Elenis.
In Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, the Supreme Court handed down a 6-3 decision rejecting the use of race as a factor in college admissions as a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
In 303 Creative LLC. v. Elenis, the Supreme Court held in a 6-3 decision that Lorie Smith, a Christian web designer, has a First Amendment right to refuse to create wedding websites for same-sex marriages if it conflicts with her religious beliefs.
In Biden v. Nebraska, the Supreme Court ruled that Biden’s plan to cancel more than $430 billion in student loan debt was unconstitutional, prompting the president to claim the court “misinterpreted the Constitution.”