In an interview with the Catholic news network EWTN broadcast on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that, if elected, he would ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor and enforce the parts of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that the court found unconstitutional. Santorum also said that he would attempt to undermine the court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade by considering fetuses to be “persons” under the law.
Santorum made the remarks as part of a series of conversations EWTN is running between influential social conservative thinker and activist Robert George and presidential candidates. George previously pressed TedCruz and Mike Huckabee to commit to positions undermining the Supreme Court on marriage equality and abortion rights.
Matthew Franck, a colleague of George’s at the Witherspoon Institute who was filling in for him, asked Santorum how, as president, he would treat the Supreme Court’s Obergefell marriage equality ruling. Santorum responded that while there is little a president can do to defy Obergefell, which affected state laws, he “would confront the court” on its DOMA decision and say “this was a decision that was extraconstitutional, that law is good, valid law and I would enforce that law.”
Before the Supreme Court struck down parts of DOMA, President Obama continued to enforce the law but refused to defend it in court, saying that it was unconstitutional. At the time, Santorum called Obama’s move a “power grab” and said that deciding the law’s constitutionality was the “province of the Supreme Court.”
Franck also asked Santorum about the anti-choice “personhood” strategy, which proposes that Congress make an end-run around Roe v. Wade by declaring fetuses and zygotes to be “persons” with full protections under the 14th Amendment.
Santorum, who has previously pledged to back “personhood” legislation, didn’t discuss the logistics of such a move, but said that the president has an “obligation to push back on a court that got it wrong.”