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President Biden Criticises Supreme Court at Record-Breaking Fundraiser in Los Angeles 

Biden has criticised the US Supreme Court, highlighting its conservative majority’s recent decisions on abortion, gay rights and other issues.

In an event on Saturday, President Joe Biden sharply criticised the U.S. Supreme Court as “out of kilter” during a lavish fundraiser in Los Angeles that raised $28 million. 

The event, held at the Peacock Theater, featured appearances by former President Barack Obama and numerous Hollywood celebrities, including George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

The fundraiser kicked off with a video montage by late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel, contrasting Biden’s record with that of his predecessor and current Republican challenger, Donald Trump. The audience, packed with Hollywood elites, responded with cheers.

Biden, who has often denounced specific Supreme Court decisions but rarely the institution itself, declared, “The Supreme Court has never been as out of kilter as it is today.” 

He highlighted that conservative Justice Clarence Thomas had suggested the court should reconsider issues like in vitro fertilization and contraception after overturning the federal right to abortion.

Biden warned that if Trump were reelected, he “is likely to have two new Supreme Court nominees,” adding, “The idea that if he’s reelected he’s going to appoint two more who are flying flags upside down… I think it is one of the scariest parts.” This comment referred to a recent controversy involving Justice Samuel Alito, who had allowed flags associated with the movement to reverse Trump’s 2020 loss, including an upside-down American flag, to fly outside his homes.

Democratic lawmakers have called for Alito to recuse himself from a case involving Trump’s claim of presidential immunity from prosecution related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Since Biden took office, the court’s conservative majority has imposed significant restrictions on affirmative action, gay rights, gun control, and environmental regulations, while also blocking several of Biden’s key agenda items, including immigration, student loans, vaccine mandates, and climate change policies.

Former President Obama emphasised the importance of elections in determining the power of the Supreme Court, stating, “What we’re seeing now is a byproduct of 2016 when Trump was elected. Hopefully, we have learned our lesson. Because these elections matter.”

The Biden campaign aimed to showcase strength and momentum with this star-studded event, despite Biden’s low approval ratings and concerns about his age. Ajay Jain Bhutoria, deputy finance chair at the Democratic National Committee, noted, “This will be one of the biggest fundraisers we’ve had,” while a campaign spokeswoman confirmed, “$28 million heading into President Biden’s LA fundraiser – and counting. This is the largest Democratic fundraiser in history.”

The fundraiser surpassed the $26 million raised at a March event in New York City, where comedian and TV host Stephen Colbert hosted Biden, Obama, and former President Bill Clinton. Top-ticket packages for the LA event cost $500,000, with celebrities such as Jack Black, Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, and Sheryl Lee Ralph making appearances.

In recent weeks, notable figures like Mark Hamill, Robert De Niro, and Steven Spielberg have supported Biden’s campaign efforts, while artists like Queen Latifah, Lenny Kravitz, Lizzo, James Taylor, Christina Aguilera, and Barbra Streisand have performed to help raise funds.

Biden’s campaign fundraising in April lagged behind Trump’s for the first time, following Trump’s ramped-up joint operation with the Republican National Committee. However, Democrats still maintain an overall cash advantage, with the Biden campaign boasting a significantly larger war chest.

Biden and Trump are currently tied in national polls with less than five months to go before the election, though Trump holds an edge in key battleground states. On economic issues like inflation, Trump scores higher with voters overall than Biden.

California remains a crucial fundraising hub for both parties. Biden has raised $24 million in the state through April 30, while Trump has raised $11.7 million, according to the Federal Election Commission.

President Biden, unable to host high-dollar Hollywood fundraisers for much of 2023 due to industry strikes, has headlined several fundraisers in California since the strikes were resolved. These include a December event where top tickets approached $1 million.

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