During a press conference Tuesday with reporters, Republican U.S. Senator Mike Braun was critical of the Supreme Court's 1967 decision to legalize interracial marriage, saying he would be OK with leaving the question to the states.
Hours later, Braun walked back those comments, releasing a statement saying he "misunderstood a line of questioning" and condemned racism "in any form."
“Earlier during a virtual press conference, I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage. Let me be clear on that issue - there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race. That is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels, and by any states, entities, or individuals," Braun said.
Dan Carden, a reporter for the Times of Northwest Indiana, asked if the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade, would Braun consider that action judicial activism?
Braun responded by saying Roe vs. Wade should have never been federalized, and if it is struck down, that will bring things back to a neutral point.
He says the decision at the time was judicial action.
"Like most of these issues, where one side of the aisle wants to homogenize it, federally, it's not the right way to do it. This should be something where the expression of individual states is able to weigh in on these issues through their own legislation, through their own court systems," Braun said.
Carden then said, "and that same basis for something like Loving vs. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage?"
Braun's full response is below:
"When it comes to issues, you can't have it both ways. When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are gonna be rules and proceedings. They're going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It's the beauty of the system, and that's where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves. I'm not saying that rule would apply in general depending on the topic, but it should mostly be in general because it's hard to have it on issues that you just are interested in when you deny it for others with a different point of view."
Carden: "So you would be OK with the Supreme Court leaving the question of interracial marriage to the states?"
Braun: "Yes, I think that's something that if you're not wanting the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you're not going to be able to have your cake and eat it too. I think that's hypocritical."
Braun also talked about what he's looking for when it comes to the nomination process of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. Braun says he wants justice to interpret the law, not act as an activist and that Brown Jackson seems well qualified.
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl released a statement following Braun's remarks, saying they were "un-American."
"Mike Braun’s words and views are not only un-American, but beneath any respectable person wishing to hold public office," Schmuhl said. "The United States Supreme Court has affirmed many times that marriage equality in our country extends to any committed couple regardless of sex, race, orientation, or religious affiliation, and to question that legitimacy questions the very fabric of America and its people."
Michelle Kaufman and Rick Harker at WRTV first reported this story.