Mirroring Obama, Biden rebukes Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade in SOTU address

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President Biden lashed out at members of the Supreme Court for their controversial Dobbs decision during his State of the Union address on Thursday night. It mirrored the actions of former President Barack Obama, who rebuked a decision made by justices on the High Court during his 2010 State of the Union address to Congress.

During Thursday’s high-profile speech from the Capitol, which was attended by six sitting Supreme Court justices, Biden spoke at length about abortion and women’s health care. At one point, the president took direct aim at the justices over their June 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and implied they weren’t aware of the “electoral or political power” women in America hold.

“With all due respect, justices, women are not without … electoral or political power,” Biden said. “You’re about to realize just how much.”


President Biden’s decision to target Supreme Court justices during his State of the Union address on Thursday mirrored that of former President Barack Obama in 2010. (Getty Images)

“Those bragging about overturning Roe v. Wade have no clue about the power of women, but they found out when reproductive freedom was on the ballot and we won in 2022 and we won in 2020 and when we win again in 2024,” he added.

Biden’s remarks drew an immediate round of applause and a standing ovation from Democrats, as well as members of his cabinet, who had gathered in the House chamber to hear the president’s remarks.

The six justices in attendance — Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson — remained seated and looked on as Biden vowed to “restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land” should he be given a “Congress that supports the right to choose.”

Though uncommon, Biden’s move to directly target the justices for a decision they had made resembled the actions of Obama when he expressed frustration with a Supreme Court ruling during one of his own State of the Union addresses.

Supreme Court justices

Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court listen to President Biden’s State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. (Julia Nikhinson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


While addressing a joint session of Congress in January 2010, Obama criticized the court’s 5-4 ruling in Citizens United, which slashed corporate campaign spending limits.

“With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections,” Obama said from the chamber of the House of Representatives that year.

“I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I’d urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems,” he added.

Obama State of the Union 2010

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27, 2010. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In apparent disagreement with Obama’s remarks at the time, Justice Samuel Alito could be seen mouthing what appeared to be the words “not true.”

Alito, along with Justices Amy Coney-Barrett and Clarence Thomas, did not attend Biden’s Thursday evening address. Alito, who is part of the court’s conservative majority, has not attended a State of the Union address since 2010.


Following Obama’s 2010 remarks, Biden, who served as vice president at the time, reportedly argued during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Obama “didn’t question the integrity of the court. He questioned the judgment of it.”


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