WH, Republicans attack SCOTUS abortion decision, Democrats declare victory

The Supreme Court overturned a Louisiana abortion law on Monday.

June 29, 2020, 3:34 PM

The Trump White House on Monday called the Supreme Court decision overturning a Louisiana law that abortion providers said made it harder for women to acquire abortion services “unfortunate," saying it showed justices were “imposing their own policy preference in favor of abortion to override legitimate abortion safety regulations.”

A statement from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that “the Supreme Court devalued both the health of mothers and the lives of unborn children” in making the ruling, which overturned a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers have admitting privileges with a nearby hospital.

McEnany’s pointed the finger at “unelected justices” whom she said had “intruded” on the rights of state governments.

Trump has not commented directly on Monday’s ruling, but in previous weeks has called that he be reelected so he could name new conservative justices after several Supreme Court decisions went against him.

At the same time, Republicans on Capitol Hill attacked Chief Justice John Roberts, who Trump and Republicans were counting on -- along with the two conservative justices Trump had named -- to give the court a conservative majority.

Roberts recently has sided with liberal justices on decisions that found it illegal to fire someone on the basis of their sexual orientation and upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as Monday's ruling on abortion.

“We need NEW JUSTICES of the Supreme Court. If the Radical Left Democrats assume power, your Second Amendment, Right to Life, Secure Borders, and.....Religious Liberty, among many other things, are OVER and GONE!” Trump tweeted earlier this month.

Judges on federal courts nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Just last week, Senate Republicans touted that they had confirmed Trump’s 200th judicial nominee.

PHOTO: Sen. Josh Hawley speaks at a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing, June 10, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Sen. Josh Hawley speaks at a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing, June 10, 2020, in Washington, DC.
Al Drago/Getty Images, FILE

Senate Republicans, many with political ambitions for higher office, have fallen in lockstep with the administration and condemned the court for their Monday ruling while citing a need to shore up conservative voices on the court.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called the ruling a “disaster” in a tweet. “It perpetuates bad precedent while barely bothering to explain why. It is a big-time wake up call to religious conservatives. We must make our voices heard. And time for hard look at vetting & selection process.”

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s criticism was pointedly aimed at Chief Justice Roberts, who voted along with the four liberal judges on the court to overturn the Louisiana law. Rubio said Roberts voted to “uphold a precedent that just four years ago he believed the court decided incorrectly.”

“Not only does it make no sense, it is yet another example of #SCOTUS making law, as opposed to applying law,which is their rightful constitutional role,” Rubio tweeted.

And Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., also took aim at Roberts.

“Americans hoping for justice for women and unborn babies were let down again today by John Roberts,” Cotton said in a statement. “The Chief Justice may believe that he’s protecting the institutional integrity of the Court, but in reality his politicized decision-making only undermines it.”

Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana where the case was based, called the ruling "unfortunate" and voiced his frustration in a video he tweeted Monday morning.

“We can't deny our duty to protect all lives no matter how loudly the abortion industry insists that baseline standards of medical care don't apply to them,” Kennedy said in the video.

But some prominent Senate Democrats, some of whom are eying a potential Vice Presidential role alongside presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, have declared the ruling a victory in the fight for reproductive health care rights.

PHOTO: Sen. Kamala Harris attends a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 25, 2020.
Sen. Kamala Harris attends a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 25, 2020.
Tom Williams/AP, FILE

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a favorite to share the Biden ticket, called the ruling a “huge victory for reproductive rights” in a tweet Monday.

“Abortion is a fundamental issue of justice in America and we will never stop fighting for it,” Harris tweeted.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who just recently stepped aside in the race to join Biden in his quest for the White House, called the decision “the right thing to do” but, like several of her Democratic colleagues, urged Congress to work to work further abortion protections into law.

“Next up: we need to codify Roe v. Wade and make it a federal law,” Klobuchar tweeted.

ABC News’ Ben Gittleson contributed to this report

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