Kamala Harris warns of threats to democracy, looks to codifying abortion rights

·3 min read

Vice President Kamala Harris blasted the Supreme Court, voiced concern about the status of U.S. democracy and called for a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants in a wide-ranging interview aired Sunday.

The veep said the highest court in the land has become an “activist court,” slamming its June ruling that overturned the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a right to abortion.

“We had an established right for almost a half a century, which is the right of women to make decisions about their own body as an extension of what we have decided to be the privacy rights to which all people are entitled,” Harris told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And this court took that constitutional right away.

“That causes me great concern about the integrity of the court overall,” she added.

Harris was noncommittal on specific legislative proposals to codify the right to abortion, saying, “I’d have to read it and see.”

But she said if upcoming midterm elections see Democrats gain two seats in the Senate, which is currently divided 50-50, that will enable them to overcome potential Republican filibusters and pass long-stalled priorities on abortion and voting rights.

“I cannot wait to cast the deciding vote to break the filibuster on voting rights and reproductive rights. I cannot wait,” Harris said.

The Democrat-controlled House passed the Freedom to Vote Act in August 2021 and the Women’s Health Protection Act in September of that year. But the threat of a Republican filibuster has blocked the bills in the Senate. To change filibuster rules, Dems need 51 votes, but two of the members of their party have balked.

Along with criticizing the Supreme Court, which conservatives dominate 6-3, Harris sounded the alarm about democracy in the U.S.

“I think it is very dangerous, and I think it is very harmful. And it makes us weaker,” she said while discussing elected officials and candidates who falsely contend the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

“Through the process of what we’ve been through, we’re starting to allow people to call into question our commitment to [democratic] principles,” she continued. “And that’s a shame.”

Harris also discussed the influx of immigrants crossing from the southern border since Trump left office. The U.S. is expected to see more than 2 million border crossings this year.

“There are still a lot of problems that we are trying to fix given the deterioration that happened over the last four years,” she said.

“We also have to put into place a law and a plan for a pathway for citizenship for the millions of people who are here and are prepared to do what is legally required to gain citizenship,” Harris added.

Looking ahead, she said she’s planning to run for reelection alongside President Biden in the 2024 election — amid widespread speculation about whether 79-year-old commander-in-chief will seek the White House again.

“The president has been very clear that he intends to run again,” said Harris, 57. “And if he does, I will be running with him proudly.”