Vice President Kamala Harris met with the attorneys general of seven Democratic-led states Thursday and suggested they could lead legal challenges to any new state restrictions on abortion stemming from an upcoming Supreme Court ruling that is expected to undermine the landmark Roe v. Wade.
Harris has increasingly become one of the White House’s leading voices on the issue since the leak last month of a draft high court opinion that suggested the justices are poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in 1973 legalizing abortion across the country. In recent weeks, she has held virtual meetings with women’s rights organizations and abortion providers from states with some of the nation’s strictest restrictions, while also discussing the issue in person with religious leaders in Los Angeles. Angels.
This time she was joined at the White House complex by Attorneys General Josh Kaul of Wisconsin, Aaron Ford of Nevada, Raoul Kwame of Illinois and Venus Johnson, the chief deputy attorney general of California.
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Attorneys General Kathleen Jennings of Delaware, Tish James of New York and Bob Ferguson of Washington State participated virtually.
The vice president said attorneys general “have the power to assess and potentially challenge the constitutionality of laws that are passed in their states.” They can also convene legal organizations and other support groups “to offer services to people who will be affected by the laws in their states,” he said.
Like President Joe Biden, Harris has argued that other key court rulings allowing access to contraception and legalizing same-sex marriage could also be threatened. Still, the White House has few options available to protect abortion nationwide after legislation to codify the Roe v. Wade on the federal bill failed last month in the Senate.
Harris further noted Thursday that attorneys general have jurisdiction in many states, giving them “the ability to direct law enforcement resources” and ensuring that those resources are “really effective in ensuring the safety and well-being of people.” people in your state.
Harris noted that the attorney general is elected in 43 states across the country and suggested voters choose accordingly: “I urge the people of our country to know the power they have to influence how laws are enforced. of your state.”
The vice president, who argued that abortion restrictions are examples of gender discrimination designed to take away women’s rights, said voters should view the abortion issue in terms of their states’ attorneys general “enforcing the principles , the spirit and the ideals of the Constitution”. of the United States in a way that is about equal treatment of all people.”