Mitch McConnell Plays Down Midterm Impact of Kansas Abortion Vote

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell batted away a suggestion that the referendum in Kansas which backed protecting abortion rights would impact the November midterm elections.

Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked McConnell about the impact of Tuesday's vote in which Kansas rejected a constitutional amendment letting state lawmakers tighten abortion restrictions

The Kentucky senator was asked if he agreed that the first electoral test since the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling enshrining federal rights to an abortion, was a "political earthquake with the potential to reshape the entire midterm campaign."

In his answer, McConnell both defended the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Center and called the judges who had made the ruling "unelected."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News on August 3, 2022, that it was too early to tell if a Kansas referendum rejecting abortion restrictions would impact the midterm elections in November. Above, McConnell is photographed in the U.S. Capitol Building on August 2, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

"What the Supreme Court has done is said people who are elected by the American people are going to deal with this highly sensitive issue and it'll be playing out all year," McConnell said of the decision, which lets state legislatures decide on abortion access.

"I don't think we really know until the end of the year what kind of an impact putting this issue back into the hands of those of us who were elected, as opposed to nine unelected judges, will have on the country," he said. "We're in the process of finding that out."

Despite calling them "unelected," McConnell touted earlier in the interview his role in shaping the Supreme Court after Baier asked him to respond to criticism of his leadership on issues such as infrastructure and gun control.

Baier cited the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act to boost semiconductor investment to compete with China as an example of one of President Joe Biden's "major victories" being used to "prop him up."

Of his critics, McConnell replied, "I guess they have forgotten the Supreme Court that I have helped usher into three new Supreme Court justices."

McConnell helped with the process of confirming appointees of ex-President Donald Trump three conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Those three justices joined Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. in voting to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Later in Wednesday's interview on Special Report, McConnell was asked if the Kansas referendum result signaled something about how the abortion issue will play out in the midterm campaign.

"It tells us there were a lot of people interested in the issue in Kansas. There's no question about that," the GOP senator replied.