Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden reiterated his position Monday that the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision must "remain the law of the land," stating that he intends to codify the Supreme Court decision protecting abortion if he wins the presidency.
Biden, answering a question about abortion and Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination at an NBC News town hall Monday night in Miami, said he would encourage Congress to "pass legislation making Roe the law of the land" if the Senate confirms Barrett to the Supreme Court.
"Number one, we don't know exactly what she will do, although the expectation is that she may very well overrule Roe, and the only responsible response to that would be to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land," Biden said. "That's what I would do."
Roe v. Wade must remain the law of the land. https://t.co/1Gq6Ncc2IK— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1601946120.0
Progressive Democrats fear Barrett's confirmation to the high court would create a 6-3 conservative majority that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Conservatives have enthusiastically supported Barrett's nomination as a fulfillment of President Trump's promise to only nominate pro-life judges to federal courts. Many conservatives hope Barrett will vote to overturn Roe's precedent if an abortion case comes before the court, which would end the nationwide legalization of abortion and return the issue to the state level, where local governments would be able to permit or restrict abortion as voters see fit.
Biden's promise to make Roe v. Wade federal law would face several hurdles in Congress. First, Biden would almost certainly need Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate to advance any of his legislative priorities, abortion included. Secondly, a hypothetical Democratic majority in the Senate would still need to contend with the legislative filibuster, which a hypothetical Republican minority would doubtlessly use to try to kill any bills protecting Roe.
While many Democrats have called for ending the filibuster since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death left an opening on the Supreme Court, Biden refuses to give an answer when the question is posed to him. Biden has also refused to say whether he would support a Democratic-led effort to pack the Supreme Court should Barrett be confirmed before a new president is inaugurated.
Previously, Biden has gone on the record opposing both reforms, leaving in question how he actually intends to keep this promise to codify Roe v. Wade should he win the presidency.