Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was confronted Sunday over remarks his husband made after pro-abortion protesters disrupted a restaurant at which Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was dining.
What is the background?
Last Wednesday, Kavanaugh was dining at a Morton's steakhouse when pro-abortion protesters began disrupting the dinner service. Kavanaugh was able to finish his meal, but was forced to leave through a back exit for security purposes.
After news of the incident broke on Friday, Chasten Buttigieg used the moment to mock Kavanaugh for voting to overturn Roe v. Wade.
"Sounds like he just wanted some privacy to make his own dining decisions," Buttigieg said.
How did Secretary Buttigieg respond?
Fox News correspondent Mike Emanuel confronted Secretary Buttigieg on "Fox News Sunday" over whether his husband's mocking response was "appropriate."
Buttigieg offered a contradictory response. On one hand, he said people should be free from harassment and intimidation in public, but he suggested what happened to Kavanaugh was appropriate because of the First Amendment.
"Look, when public officials go into public life, we should expect two things," Buttigieg said. "One, that you should always be free from violence, harassment, and intimidation. And two, you're never going to be free from criticism or peaceful protest, people exercising their First Amendment rights."
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The former Democratic presidential candidate then lied about Kavanaugh.
"These protesters are upset because a right, an important right that the majority of Americans support, was taken away. Not only the right to choose, by the way, but this justice was part of the process of stripping away the right to privacy," Buttigieg said. "So, yes, people are upset. They're going to exercise their First Amendment rights."
However, the Supreme Court did not strip away "the right to privacy" in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. The decision overturned abortion precedents.
The Constitution, in fact, does not explicitly guarantee a "right to privacy," although the Supreme Court has repeatedly found an implicit protection of privacy. Abortion rights once fell under that implicit protection, but Roe v. Wade was constructed on shaky jurisprudence that even liberal legal scholars, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, criticized.
Did Buttigieg say anything else?
Emanuel pressed Buttigieg on whether he is actually OK with protesters interrupting dinner service.
"As a high-profile public figure, sir, are you comfortable with protesters protesting when you and your husband go to dinner at a restaurant?" he asked.
"Protesting peacefully outside in a public space? Sure. Look, I can't even tell you the number of spaces, venues, and scenarios where I've been protested," Buttigieg responded. "The bottom line is this: Any public figure should always, always be free from violence, intimidation, and harassment, but should never be free from criticism or people exercising their First Amendment rights."