Senator Says He 'Misunderstood' Question of Legalizing Interracial Marriage

Republican Senator Mike Braun walked back his comments suggesting interracial marriage should not be legal nationwide, but should be up to individual states to decide.

Braun's argument came on the second day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. Although he isn't on the judiciary committee, he will ultimately be voting on whether to confirm her based on his assessment of her record.

Braun said Jackson seems well qualified but he wants to make sure she isn't an "activist," according to WFYI.

"Stick with interpreting the law," Braun said. "Don't legislate from the bench."

During a phone conference with reporters discussing Jackson's nomination, Braun explained he thought abortion rights should have been left up to the states back when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. When asked if his same ideology applied to the Supreme Court's decision in 1967 making it illegal for states to ban interracial marriage, he agreed.

Sen Braun
Republican Senator Mike Braun walked back his comments suggesting interracial marriage should not be legal nationwide, but should be up to individual states to decide. Getty Images

"When it comes to issues, you can't have it both ways," Braun said. "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 the beauty of the system, and that's where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves."

Braun then doubled down on his response when asked to clarify if he would be OK with the Supreme Court leaving the question of interracial marriage to individual states.

"Yes," Braun replied. "I think that's something―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."

After receiving criticism on social media, Braun backtracked his statement saying he "misunderstood" the question he was asked.

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

Newsweek reached out to Senator Braun for additional comment.