WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — Vice President Kamala Harris met with the attorneys general of seven Democratic-led states Thursday and suggested they could lead legal proceedings against any new state restrictions on abortion that stem from an upcoming Supreme Court ruling that is expected to , will weaken Landmark Row vs. Wade decision.
See Harris’ comments in the player above.
Harris is increasingly emerging as the White House’s leading voice on the issue after leaking last month of a draft Supreme Court opinion that said judges were on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade’s 1973 ruling to legalize abortion nationwide. In recent weeks, she has held virtual meetings with women’s rights organizations and abortion providers in some of the most restrictive states in the country, and has spoken face-to-face with religious leaders in Los Angeles.
Joining her at the White House complex this time were Attorney General Josh Kaul of Wisconsin, Aaron Ford of Nevada, Raul Kwame of Illinois, and Venus Johnson, 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 attended virtually.
The vice president said attorneys general “have the power to evaluate 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,” she said.
Like President Joe Biden, Harris has argued that other key court decisions allowing access to contraceptives and legalizing same-sex marriage could also be in jeopardy. However, the White House has several options to defend abortion across the country after the Senate failed to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law last month.
Harris further noted on Thursday that attorneys general have jurisdiction in many states, which gives them “the ability to direct law enforcement resources” and ensures that such resources are “truly effective in ensuring the safety and well-being of the people in their state.”
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Harris noted that the Attorney General is elected in 43 states across the country and challenged voters to make their choice: “I call on the people of our nation to recognize the power they have to influence how the laws of their state are enforced.”
The vice president, who argued that abortion restrictions are examples of gender discrimination designed to disempower women, said voters should view abortion from the perspective of their state’s attorneys general, “enforcing the principles, spirit, and ideals of the Constitution.” United States in such a manner as to ensure equal treatment of all people.”