WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — A Saturday tweet from U.S. Senator John Cornyn has gone viral after confusion over when he compared the Roe v. Wade overturn to another landmark ruling that was overruled related to racial segregation.
Texas’ senior Republican senator responded to a tweet by former president Barack Obama that denounced the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, noting that it overturned nearly 50 years of precedent. Cornyn’s tweet response said, “Now do Plessy vs Ferguson/Brown vs Board of Education.”
His tweet sparked tens of thousands of responses on Twitter, with many interpreting it as Cornyn advocating for the reinstatement of segregation, including Democratic Texas congressman Joaquin Castro. Castro, like many others online, speculated that Cornyn was suggesting the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
The Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education partially overruled its 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson – which established the “separate but equal” notion and gave way to legal segregation. In 1954, justices ruled it is unconstitutional for American public schools and educational facilities to be segregated, overturning a previously established precedent under Plessy v. Ferguson.
The senator later clarified his words in another tweet that reads, “Thank goodness some SCOTUS precedents are overruled.”
We reached out to Cornyn’s office for a response. A spokesperson for the senator pointed to his tweet that clarified the intent of his remarks, as well as other tweets he re-tweeted that backed up his argument.
Cornyn’s spokesperson clarified that he was essentially comparing how the Friday ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned the decades-long precedent established in 1973 under Roe v. Wade.
Obama said in his tweet that reversing this precedent “relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.”
When the Supreme Court issued its opinion overruling Roe v. Wade on Friday, Cornyn gave the following statement:
“Today, the Court has restored one of the core principles of our Constitution with this landmark ruling. This decision correctly returns the authority of states to decide the limits on abortion and will save countless innocent lives,” he said. “I commend the Justices for not bowing to the vicious intimidation campaign waged by the radical Left. I join Texans in celebrating this historic victory for life and the rule of law.”