Braun: Another Indiana Embarrassment

As if the election of a truly abysmal legislature, courtesy of gerrymandering , wasn’t bad enough, Indiana’s voters keep giving the state hugely embarrassing statewide officials. I have posted several times about Todd Rokita, Indiana’s widely-despised egomaniac Attorney General; currently, it’s intellectually and morally-challenged Senator Mike Braun who is reflecting negatively on Hoosiers.

The Washington Post was one of several media outlets reporting on Braun’s defense of “state’s rights” during the confirmation hearings for Judge Jackson.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said Tuesday that he would be open to the Supreme Court overturning its 1967 ruling that legalized interracial marriage nationwide to allow states to independently decide the issue.
Braun — who made the comments during a conference call in which he discussed the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court — also said he’d welcome the rescinding of several key decisions made by the court in the past 70 years to pass the power to the states.

 Heather Cox Richardson had a historically-grounded response to Braun’s assertion that the country would be “better off having states manifest their points of view rather than homogenizing it across the country as Roe v. Wade did.”  As Richardson reminds us, the whole point of the 14th Amendment was to “homogenize” the fundamental rights of American citizens. 

After World War II, the Supreme Court used the Fourteenth Amendment to protect civil rights in the states, imposing the government’s interest in protecting equality to overrule discriminatory legislation by the states. 

Now, Republicans want to return power to the states, where those who are allowed to vote can impose discriminatory laws on minorities. 

Richardson points out that it’s impossible to limit an evisceration of the Fourteenth Amendment to a single issue. If states are empowered to award or deny rights as they wish –if they are free of federal restraints on their ability to strip reproductive rights from women, for example–“the entire body of decisions in which the federal government protects civil rights, beginning with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending segregation in the public schools, is illegitimate.”

Voters need to realize that the GOP’s assault on fundamental rights goes well beyond efforts to overturn Roe. Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn has challenged  Griswold v. Connecticut, the decision that legalized contraception, and Texas Senator John Cornyn has attacked Obergefell, the decision recognizing same-sex marriage.

Braun and the other Neanderthals in the GOP would undoubtedly cheer such results. Most Americans, not so much. Richardson points out that they are “quite literally” making the same “states’ rights” argument used to justify enslaving people before the Civil War.”

More recently, it is the argument that made birth control illegal in many states, a restriction that endangered women’s lives and hampered their ability to participate in the workforce as unplanned pregnancies enabled employers to discriminate against them. It is the argument that prohibits abortion and gay marriage; in many states, laws with those restrictions are still on the books and will take effect just as soon as the Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges are overturned.

Eviscerating the Fourteenth Amendment provision that prohibits states from withholding the “privileges and immunities” of U.S. citizenship from their citizens would invalidate the existing jurisprudence of Equal Protection, a jurisprudence that requires all states to respect the fundamental rights protected by the Bill of Rights–to “homogenize” them.

Richardson points out that Braun’s desired reversal of Loving v. Virginia would criminalize the marriages of both Judge Jackson and Justice Thomas in certain states.

Braun’s willingness to abandon the right of Americans to marry across racial lines was pointed, since Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, whose confirmation hearing for her elevation to the Supreme Court is currently underway in the Senate, is Black and her husband is non-Black. The world Braun described would permit states to declare their 26-year marriage illegal, as it would have been in many states before the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision declared that states could not prohibit interracial marriages. This would also be a problem for sitting justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni.

Braun is today’s version of  a mainstream Republican, and Richardson revisits a frequently-quoted paragraph written a decade ago by respected scholars Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein, who concluded

“The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream,” they wrote, “it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”

So we’ve seen–and it has only gotten worse.

These days, as the Jackson hearings are painfully illustrating, Republicans have made both civil discourse and  basic, substantive governance virtually impossible.


  1. Indiana, the Mississippi of the north. Smh
    Making worldwide news of its stupidity.

  2. Indiana’s AG must be the fraternal twin of Ken Paxton in Texas; Paxton is under indictment for various crimes including taking bribes – imagine that.

    During the Civil War, none other than Jefferson Davis his own self was thwarted in conducting the war by the states rights loonies of his day. The “leaders” of those states wanted to keep their own militias close at hand just in case, rather than send them to aid Lee and other campaign leaders.

    Reverting major national decisions to the states would create 50 squabbling nation states that would end up fighting each other. Braun’s “thoughts” are stupid, backward and dangerous. Oh. And did I forget to mention the Constitution and legal precedent?

  3. The Honorable Mike Braun, the self-acclaimed champion of a free private enterprise economy, seems to harken to the days when the Ku Klux Klan had control of the city, county and state here in Indiana. The KKK were also champions of state’s rights. The auto manufacturing industry during its birthing years and attraction to auto racing, toyed with the notion to invest in central Indiana. That did not last long because the KKK objected to hiring immigrant labor. Michigan invited auto manufacturing interests with no objections and the rest is history. There is no economic future for Indians as long as Senator Braun finds himself in front of a loose microphone.

    Optimizing diversity accelerates prosperity for all. Anything less than that is the target of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s admonishment channeled by Patrick Wiltshire above. Thank you, Patrick.

  4. Hard not to disagree with Patrick and Norris on this so I won’t even attempt.

    Upon returning from my travels to Asheville for a week, we started our entry into IN on HWY 1 and went North. It was hard to find a community that didn’t support Trump or “Save a Life.” The same signs, “Protect Farmland” were also consistent.

    The churches were all packed in these rural communities. I am sure all of them protest interracial marriages and anything else progressive. I am sure all still live like Mayberry with dots of Rebel flags everywhere, especially on trucks.

    Due to gerrymandering, these are the folks electing our congressional and senatorial representatives and it’s why Young and Braun have such a solid foothold. The Koch network doesn’t have to spend a fortune in Indiana to get what they want, so they spend the minimum.

    Not much manipulation is required by the Oligarchy because they get what they want from University economists, media, and state government. Our corrupt state reflects the agenda of ALEC and the Indiana Policy Network where Pence is a legend.

    Does anybody see this changing soon?

    This is why there is a mass exodus of young educated minds. They have no reason to accept it, so they leave. Not sure why Braun is wasting his time trying to make Indiana more backward – his ilk has already won.

  5. I believe that it was Rachael Maddow who, on one of her shows, pointed out that we don’t get to vote on “rights.” That is why they are called rights and not privileges.

  6. It seems that the right wing is doing what they always do, i.e. picking and choosing what they want to believe rather than accepting the whole body of any document. In the case of the Constitution, they only like one part of the First Amendment (“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) and the Second Amendment, minus the first phrase. They do the same thing with the Bible, preferring Deuteronomy to the Gospels, while proclaiming their “Christianity”.

    Mike Braun has the IQ of a gnat, so one has to wonder why anyone would feel the need to interview him. It’s nearly as bad as interviewing Louie Gohmert.

  7. I have been wondering if, in their greed for power, the Republicans haven’t totally undermined their arguments for overturning Roe by exposing the extent to which they want to apply the state’s rights argument. They don’t just want to take us back to the 1950s; they want to take us back to the 19th century. Maybe this inter-racial marriage thing will hit home with a couple of judges. We’ll see what kind of pretzel the court is willing bend into so that they can cherry pick the rights they want to rescind.

    Peggy, they want to interview Braun BECAUSE he has the IQ of a gnat. He bought the party line but he showed their cards.

  8. Both parties are complicit in our completely dysfunctional campaign funding system. Why? It serves law makers well. They only ones that it doesn’t are we the people.

    So when I objected to the GOPDfD (Grand Old Party Dancing for Donors) show that occasionally displaced the serious judicial committee work ratifying a Supreme Court Justice, the response from Republicans was a typical “both parties do it”.

    The real question is what do those donating to Republican candidates pay for compared to Democrat candidates?

    In my experience Republican donors buy wealth redistribution away from the creators of it and return to our past primarily for religious and racial reasons. Democrat donors buy preparation for the future and global stability.

  9. Braun is not a Neanderthal, as we believe they were able to work and play well together.
    If we can, someday, get federal voting rights back on the books, perhaps the gerrymandering that keeps this kind of fool
    in office, will be gone.

  10. ….” The liberal plot to make Republicans look stupid, also known as “just let them speak”, is working splendidly”…

  11. Speaking of abrogating the law, I will be interesting to see what the SCOTUS does with the Texas abortion bounty law. I can see several states passing similar laws to do things like report illegal gun ownership.

    The far right seems to be OK with throwing the baby out with the bath water in short sighted moves. In this case it is the constitution that might be going out the window.

    Oh…. and Braun’s retraction of the statement said, he would never mean to backtrack on racial discrimination. What he did not say, is that it IS OK to leave sexual discrimination up to the states.

  12. Braun and his ilk apparently want to abolish the Constitution and the Amendments thereto in favor of a return of the Articles of Confederation, that pre-Constitution system which allowed 13 different looks at the rights, privileges, immunities and even duties on trade between colonies/states, all under the cover of what became known as “states rights.”

    Thankfully, adoption of the Constitution in 1789 and the Bill of Rights two years later along with Marbury v. Madison ended the corrosive effects of the Articles – or so we thought – before the likes of Thurmond, Braun and others came along with their reversion to Articles thought as applied to particular issues, such as interracial marriage, abortion etc. What’s next? Shall we have fifty different states in charge of taxation, passports, international trade etc.? See any problems?

    Our task? Accomodate change, not resist it.

  13. The comparison to Mississippi is apt. Where is the current generation of protest folk singers when we need them? Back in the day, Phil Ochs wrote the marvellous song, “Here’s to the State of MIssissippi,” with caustic verses about Mississippi’s schools, judges, laws, churches, etc. We’ll worth a listen. Clearly, present-day Indiana offers more than enough material for something similar.

  14. I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
    Tears ran down my spine.
    I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy,
    As though I’d lost a father of mine.
    But Malcolm X got what was coming,
    He got what he asked for this time.
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

    I go to civil rights rallies.
    And I put down the old D.A.R.
    I love Harry and Sidney and Samm,
    I hope every colored boy becomes a star.
    But don’t talk about revolution,
    That’s going a little bit too far.
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

    I cheered when Humphrey was chosen;
    My faith in the system restored.
    And I’m glad the commies were thrown out,
    of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board.
    I love Puerto Ricans and Negros,
    as long as they don’t move next door.
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

    The people of old Mississippi,
    Should all hang their heads in shame.
    Now I can’t understand how their minds work.
    What’s the matter don’t they watch Les Crain?
    But if you ask me to bus my children,
    I hope the cops take down your name.
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

    Yes, I read New Republic and Nation
    I’ve learned to take every view.
    You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden,
    I feel like I’m almost a Jew.
    But when it comes to times like Korea),
    There’s no one more red, white and blue.
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

    I vote for the Democratic Party,
    They want the U.N. to be strong.
    I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts;
    He sure gets me singing those songs.
    And I’ll send all the money you ask for,
    But don’t ask me to come on along.
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

    Once I was young and impulsive;
    I wore every conceivable pin.
    Even went to the socialist meetings;
    Learned all the old union hymns.
    But I’ve grown older and wiser,
    And that’s why I’m turning you in.
    So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

  15. Rokita and Braun are the end result of gerrymandering. Until it goes away, they, and those like them, won’t.

  16. Unfortunately, Rokita and Braun are not a product of gerrymandering. Both were elected in statewide elections. No gerrymandering needed.

  17. There is a reason the Federal Government takes over issues that are national in nature. If we left some things up to the states we would have a mess of checker board laws that would cause mass confusion.

  18. Making all the states “little countries” would surely separate us even more. At our ages, we aren’t likely to move but…then again, maybe.

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