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Rep. Garamendi on the abortion ruling: Other protections ‘are likely to be in trouble’

California Rep. John Garamendi joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the Supreme Court's decision to overturn 'Roe v. Wade', the outlook for Senate and lawmakers.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: We are continuing to watch images outside of the US Supreme Court. There, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a short time ago, coming out to speak to those who are in support of women's rights. But we've also seen celebration on the other side here, as we've got that decision from the justices to overturn 50 years of abortion rights, overturning Roe v. Wade.

I want to bring in another lawmaker into the conversation here. We've got California's third congressional district representative John Garamendi. It's great to have you on today. Certainly, a monumental day. And we saw-- we heard from your fellow congresswoman, Maxine Waters, earlier, who came out and said, look, we will fight and resist all the way. You're a lawmaker. How are you thinking about the next step right now?

JOHN GARAMENDI: Well, the next step was actually taken last September, when we passed the Women's Health Protection Act, which would basically put into federal law the Roe v. Wade guarantees. Right now, that's hung up in the Senate, as is most every good piece of legislation. So we'll see what happens over in the Senate. In the meantime, this issue is going to be going to the states. We already know many, many states are making it virtually impossible for a woman to have control over her own body. That control is now ceded to the courts and to, frankly, radical legislators.

So the protections that Americans have enjoyed over the last 50 years with regard to this issue of abortion are gone. But that's not what really-- that is a concern, but the additional concern is embedded in this decision. And that is that other protections that Americans have enjoyed that are not explicitly listed in the Constitution or the amendments to the Constitution may and are likely to be in trouble.

If you read carefully the decision as well as the additional words of Justice Thomas, it is probable that many of the protections that we count on are gone. And simultaneous to the Roe decision was a decision by the Supreme Court to eliminate the protections that New York citizens have to be protected from guns. Those-- that law was also thrown aside by this radical Supreme Court. Similar, gun safety laws across the nation may very well fall.

And so what we're looking at is a radically-- radical change to the protections that Americans have had for decades, some of them going back more than a century. So this is different. This is going to be a very different world as a result of this radical Supreme Court.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, congressman, it's Brian Cheung here. I mean, just to kind of rewind to the federal approach here, yes, there's going to be a lot of movement state by state, I imagine. But look, there's not a lot of time, I imagine, when you consider that you do have a majority in both the House and the Senate right now. It's a Democratic White House. Does this speed up the process now that this is official? Can you get something done before the midterms?

JOHN GARAMENDI: We have to. And that majority is actually 50-50 in the Senate, and the vice president. That's how we achieve a majority in the Senate. But the rules of the Senate are actually anti-democratic rules. It is the Senate is ruled by the minority, not by the majority. And America needs to understand that. The way the Senate operates, it is minority rule. You'd need at least 60 votes, which means the minority of 41 can rule the Senate. And in fact, they do, day after day after day.

However, now we have a Supreme Court that has become a very activist Supreme Court, a Supreme Court that is taking on not only laws, but previous decisions. Took on the law in New York that has been in place for, I think, several decades that prohibited guns in the streets. Now the Supreme Court says, no, there can be guns in the streets of New York. And that's going to affect gun safety laws around the nation, like California that has some of the best gun safety laws in this nation. Those are likely to fall.

What can we do? Well, each state, as California is now doing, is they're going to amend their constitution, or attempt to amend their constitution, to make it clear that the right to abortion is implicit in the constitution of the state of California. Also, we do need to pass a national law, which the House of Representatives, without any, zero, Republican votes, has advanced the Women's Health Protection Act. We'll see what the Senate does. Could it happen in the Senate by waiving the filibuster rule and lining up all 50 Democrats, plus the vice president? Yes, it could.

AKIKO FUJITA: Let me pick up on that point about how states are responding because essentially, the decision today does put the power back in the states' hands. To your point, your state, California, has been quite aggressive, vocal, in coming out and calling for this constitutional amendment. Number one, what kind of support does it have? And number two, is this what we're going to see out of this decision, a further division between these states with--

JOHN GARAMENDI: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. The overarching federal protections for women disappeared in this decision. And that's not the only protection that ultimately will be struck down by this radical court. They're very, very clear, both in the opinion and in the additional supporting opinion by Justice Thomas, that they intend to take on all protections that are not explicitly in the Constitution. And that means healthcare protections, gay rights. That also means the right to privacy. It means the right to clean air, clean water. None of those are mentioned in the Constitution.

So we'll see. We'll see what happens here. The states can-- if you take a very conservative approach to the 10th Amendment, it may be possible for the individual states to continue to provide all of the protections that are now gone, the protection for abortion rights, as well as for gun rights. Those could continue to survive in the state with a very conservative reading of the 10th Amendment. We'll see how all of this plays out over the days, months, and years ahead.

But make absolutely clear, we're going to be operating in a very different America now and in the days and months and years ahead, an America in which many of the protections that we have come to rely upon are going to be under assault. And if this court stays the course that they are on, then it's-- I think we can count on all-- many, many of the protections that are not clearly in the Constitution, that they'll be gone, whether they are by previous court opinions or by law. We've seen both of those today. Previous court opinion, gone. Laws of the state, gone.


JOHN GARAMENDI: Protections, gone.

BRIAN CHEUNG: And congressman, I did want to ask lastly here-- and we originally actually wanted to speak about the Ocean Shipping Reform Act that you had passed into law. Obviously, we appreciate you taking the time to walk us through the news of the day. But it was signed by the president last week. This addresses supply chain inflation issues with regards to our trade relationship with China. Can you kind of walk us through exactly what that does and whether or not you think this will have the desired impact?

JOHN GARAMENDI: Well, what we set out to do here with the Ocean Shipping Reform Act was, initially, to make it clear that our exporters, agricultural exporters, exporters of goods from America would be able to get their goods into a container and on a ship. That was not happening and, to this day, is still not happening. This law empowers the Federal Maritime Commission, FMC there on your screen, to establish regulations to require the ocean shippers to take American exports.

Right now, 60%-- or 70%, 80% of the containers that are going west out of the California ports are empty. They're going back to China. They're being loaded up in China, Japan, Korea, and brought back to America. So there's not a reciprocal trade situation. Very, very damaging to American exporters, agriculture, others, including major retailers that want to get American-made products to their stores in Asia.

So that's what we attempt-- what we're doing here. It has already had some impact. We're seeing some improvement in the export. But we've got a long way to go. Once again, the Federal Maritime Commission is given authority, given the staff necessary to bring this import, export market back into balance.

And it is an inflation issue. It's absolutely clear that the cost of goods coming in from the East-- coming in from the Western Pacific, are much more expensive, as a result of the extraordinary profits and charges that the ocean shippers are imposing on a container that is loaded with imported goods-- or excuse me, goods that are being imported into the United States.

Similarly, American exporters are facing extraordinarily high charges. It is a 10 to 15-fold increase. That's 10 times, 15 times increase in the cost of a container that is loaded in China with goods that are coming into the United States. Ultimately, the American consumer is paying that. And that is inflation.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Right, we'll continue to watch that for sure. Representative John Garamendi of the California's third congressional district, thanks so much for stopping by this morning. Really appreciate it.