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Biden says Supreme Court is 'more of an advocacy group' than 'evenhanded'

Biden's comment comes several months after the high court overturned Roe v. Wade.
President Joe Biden
President Biden said he views the midterms next month "as one of the important elections that I've been engaged in." Susan Walsh / AP

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday issued his most pointed criticism of the Supreme Court yet, describing the high court as "more of an advocacy group these days" than "evenhanded."

Biden made the remark at a virtual fundraiser for Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., who serves as an assistant whip in House leadership.

"I view this off-year election as one of the most important elections that I’ve been engaged in because a lot can change because the institutions have changed," he said. "The Supreme Court is more of an advocacy group these days than it is ... evenhanded about it," Biden said when speaking about the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 8.

The president, who has stepped up his midterms campaigning as November approaches, said Democrats can't afford to lose control of the House and must also increase their majority in the evenly split Senate.

Biden's comments come several months after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 decision that made abortions legal nationwide. The court is poised to rule on a number of major issues this term, including voting rights and affirmative action.

Following the Roe decision, many Democrats across the country have campaigned heavily on abortion rights, vowing to reverse restrictions pushed by Republicans and expand access to reproductive health services. They've also pointed to comments made by GOP leaders who have suggested they would be inclined to support a national abortion ban if they take control of the House and Senate in November.

Republican leaders changed the Senate rules in 2017, lowering the threshold to confirm Supreme Court nominees from 60 votes to 51 and allowing then-President Donald Trump to put three justices on the high court.

In a national poll conducted by NBC News after the Supreme Court's decision in June, the court's favorability rating dropped among registered voters, with 35% having a positive view and 42% having a negative one. That was down from mid-2018 when 50% had a positive favorability rating of the institution.

Biden this year nominated his first Supreme Court justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson — the first Black woman on the court. But her confirmation hasn't changed the makeup of the court with its conservative 6-3 advantage.