After the U.S. Supreme Court overturns women’s constitutional right to abortion this summer, one Arizona Republican candidate for U.S. Senate thinks judges should also take aim at the right to buy and use contraception.
Blake Masters, a Tucson-based venture capitalist, boasts on his website that he will only vote to confirm federal judges “who understand that Roe and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided, and that there is no constitutional right to abortion.” Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decided in 1973 and 1992, respectively, both upheld a constitutional right to abortion access.
But the ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 protected a married couple’s right to buy and use contraceptives without government restrictions. The case centered on a Connecticut law that banned the use of contraceptives, which the court determined violated a married couple’s constitutional right to privacy, establishing the basis for the right to privacy with respect to intimate practices.
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Masters’ stance puts him on the opposite side of the issue from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of GOP senators, which has advised candidates on talking points following the leak of a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.
In a section instructing candidates on how to “forcefully refute Democrat lies” about Republicans’ positions on abortion and health care, the NRSC declares that “Republicans DO NOT want to take away contraception.”
Elsewhere in the talking points memo to GOP Senate candidates, the NRSC advises them to say, “I’m not in favor of putting women or doctors in jail. I would never take away anyone’s contraception or health care. That’s just the typical BS you get from politicians.”
Masters’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment. But after this story was published, his campaign’s attorney sent a letter to the Arizona Mirror stating that, “Blake does not support local, state, or federal contraception bans—and has never said otherwise.”
“Blake’s position that Griswold was wrongly decided speaks only to the scope of individual constitutional rights, not good public policy,” campaign attorney Kory Langhofer wrote.
On Twitter, Masters expounded on his view.
“In Griswold, the justices wholesale *made up a constitutional right* to achieve a political outcome. I am opposed to judges making law. It’s the job of the legislative branch to create laws, not the courts. This is separation of powers 101,” he wrote
On May 9, the reference to Griswold v. Connecticut was removed from Masters’ website, which now says that his criteria for approving judges would be their stated desire to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The Supreme Court in June will issue its ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case centered on a Mississippi abortion law that is a vehicle for the court to overturn Roe, as conservative justices appear poised to do in a draft opinion that was leaked.
In an election year that is supposed to favor Republicans across the country, Democrats and reproductive rights activists are concerned about what a Republican-controlled Senate chamber could mean, not just for abortion rights but a host of other issues.
In Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion, he mentioned other landmark cases that could potentially be overturned in the future, Including Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage.
President Donald Trump hasn’t yet endorsed an Arizona Senate candidate, but Masters is viewed as the favorite to receive his endorsement. His campaign is also being supported by his former boss and mentor, technology investor Peter Thiel, who is spending at least $10 million to bankroll a campaign to support Masters.
Masters has already won the support of some extremist Republicans, most recently Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke to a white nationalist conference earlier this year. Other media reports have noted his past praise for the Unabomber, and Jewish Insider found that Masters had once penned an article in which he referenced a “poignant quotation” from Nazi leader Hermann Goering.
It’s unclear where the NRSC stands on all Republican candidates in Arizona, but Florida Sen. Rick Scott – who leads the group – was trying hard to convince term-limited Gov. Doug Ducey to jump into the race on several occasions, signaling possible disinterest in the field.
If the NRSC is serious that “Republicans will not take away contraception,” it might cause a slight hiccup in Masters’ candidacy should he win in the Aug. 2 primary.
***EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly characterized other media reports as saying that Blake Masters had “praised” Nazi leader Hermann Goering. Specifically, Jewish Insider discovered a 2006 article in an obscure libertarian publication, in which Masters argued that America had not fought a “just war” since the Civil War, and asserted that the country had gone to war throughout the 20th Century to benefit “third party special interests.” To conclude his argument, Masters invoked a “poignant quotation” from Goering about how government leaders use propaganda to build public support for war. This article has been updated to change the reference to Masters’ 2006 writing, as well as to include comments he and his campaign made after this article was published.
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