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Want more context on Mike Braun's interracial marriage comments? Here's the transcript.

Indianapolis Star logo Indianapolis Star 3/23/2022 Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star
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Sen. Mike Braun is getting national attention after he said that the U.S. Supreme Court should have left the decision of whether to ban interracial marriage up to the states. 

Five hours later, Braun released a statement saying he misunderstood "a line of questioning," and emphasized that he condemns racism "in any form."

"Earlier during a virtual press conference I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage," Braun said. "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.”

U.S. Senator Mike Braun speaks with IndyStar on Thursday, April 8, 2021, inside his Indianapolis office. Braun spoke on issues from border security to mask mandates and COVID-19 vaccines. © Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar U.S. Senator Mike Braun speaks with IndyStar on Thursday, April 8, 2021, inside his Indianapolis office. Braun spoke on issues from border security to mask mandates and COVID-19 vaccines.

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Here's a transcript of what he said about the Supreme Court during a press call Tuesday. Unrelated questions were not included:

Question: So obviously confirmation hearings are going on for Judge Jackson, you're not on that committee, you've expressed some skepticism of this nomination in the past. Have you met with her personally, and have you formed an opinion as to which way you will vote?

Answer: I have not met her. I think she did that mostly with the folks on the Judiciary Committee. Of course, you can't miss the topic. Seems well qualified, but whenever I vote for a Supreme Court justice is going to be basically how are you going to interpret the law. If your record shows that you're going to be kind of an activist there, I don't think that's good, I don't think the founders intended it that way. I'm going to look at what's fleshed out in terms of prior rulings at a lower level, and I think that'll be done thoroughly, and I think our side that is going to be doing some of that extraction of information based upon your record, we'll do it in a way that I think hopefully keeps it a little different level of decorum than the one I remember back when I was running in I think October of 18 with Kavanagh. Stick with interpreting the law, don't legislate from the bench, and what has your prior record shown about what you'll do when you're on the main stage.

Question: Is it fair to say that you've not formed an opinion yet or what what have you found?

Answer: I'm going to wait until the whole process finishes itself out. Of course in this day of information, you get a lot ahead of time and I think she'll have to do a pretty strong explanation of why her record and maybe what her judicial tendency might be, to say the opposite of what I said will be the most important criteria for me.

Question: Do you suspect this will be a purely partisan vote or might we see some Republicans cross over and vote to confirm Judge Jackson?

Answer: Well, I don't think there'll be any Democrat voting against her, and I think it remains to be seen, in terms of how much would be brought out along the lines of what I talked about. I think there are probably three or four Republicans that would maybe lean in that direction. But if the case is made, that with prior opinions at lower court levels, and her answers to what she wants to accomplish, they generally are understated if you're talking about judicial activism. Everyone basically in a perfunctory way will say I'm going to be neutral, look at the merits of the case. I think that'll determine whether it's purely a partisan vote or not. We'll see what happens.

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Question: What do you think we'll see in terms of the decorum in the hearing? You mentioned the desire to not have it end up being like a Kavanaugh hearing as you put it, but we did have some questions today. Sen. Graham asked her to describe on a scale of one to 10 how religious of a person she was. Do you think that kind of question is appropriate in this format?

Answer: Well, that would be a question that I think is one that may not be of the analytical kind of context that would hit the mark, but I'm referring back to the absolute bedlam that occurred during the Kavanaugh hearings, and that was a level of decorum that I think most on our side said they would not go there, and I think we'll get to the merits of the case on her capabilities without some of those histrionics. 

Question: Senator, you spoke about judicial activism. If this Supreme Court later this year strikes down the right to abortion, would you consider that to be judicial activism legislating from the bench?

Answer: I consider it to have been judicial activism when it occurred back almost 50 years ago. So I think this would be bringing it back to a neutral point to where that issue should have never been federalized, way out of sync I think with the contours of America then. And this basically puts it back to a point where, like most of these issues when one side of the aisle wants to homogenize it federally, is not the right way to do it. This should be something where the expression of individual states are able to weigh in on these issues, through their own legislation, through their own court systems. Quit trying to put the federal government in charge of not only things like we did navigating through COVID recently, where I think that was misguided, but in general. So now I think this takes it back to a point where it should have never gotten beyond in the first place.

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Question: Would you apply that same basis to something like Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage?

Answer: When it comes to the issues, you can't have it both ways. When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are going to be rules and proceedings, they're going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It's a beauty of the system, and that's where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves. And 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.

Question: So you would be OK with the Supreme Court leaving the question of interracial marriage to the states?

Answer: Yes, I think that 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.

Question: What about Griswold v. Connecticut?

Answer: You can list a whole host of issues. When it comes down to whatever they are, I'm going to say that they're not going to all make you happy within a given state, but that we're better off having states manifest their points of view rather than homogenizing it across the country as Roe v. Wade did.

Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at 317-432-9270 or email her at kaitlin.lange@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Want more context on Mike Braun's interracial marriage comments? Here's the transcript.

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