(JTA) — In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist leader and influential figure among the rightmost flank of the Republican Party, told his followers that “Jews stood in the way” of Catholic Supreme Court Justices who “were put on the court to overturn” the 1973 decision that guaranteed the right to an abortion in the United States.
Fuentes, who founded the America First Political Action Committee and the”groyper army,” a radical fringe group, made the comments on his website’s livestream on Friday, according to Right Wing Watch. He added “we need a government of Christians” and “Jewish people can be here, but they can’t make our laws.”
“If Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Jewish woman, didn’t die last year, so that Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic woman, could be appointed to the bench, we would still have Roe v. Wade,” Fuentes said. “Now you tell me that this is a Judeo-Christian country… You tell me that it doesn’t matter that we have a lot of Jewish people in government.”
Extremism trackers like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center have long classified Fuentes as a hate group leader who advocates antisemitism and Holocaust denial, in addition to racist and nativist ideologies. His YouTube channel was previously banned for hate speech.
Yet several Republican elected officials were featured speakers at Fuentes’ AFPAC conference in February, including sitting members of Congress Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona; Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin; and Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers (who was censured by her state Republican party for her appearance at the conference). When they were confronted with Fuentes’ views after their conference appearances, all four declined to condemn Fuentes or his organization. Gosar previously hosted a fundraiser with Fuentes.
Fuentes’ antisemitic comments mirror similar expressions from “traditional Catholic” groups, who generally believe all Jews are enemies of Christianity. Most interpretations of Jewish law permit abortion access in some form.
The seeds of the current conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court were planted when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a vote on then-President Obama’s Jewish nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016, as a replacement for conservative Catholic Antonin Scalia, instead holding the spot for Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, to fill with conservative Christian Neil Gorsuch (who was raised Catholic but later attended an Episcopal church).
The supermajority was then solidified in fall 2020 when Ginsburg died, opening up a new spot for then-President Trump to fill with the Catholic Barrett in the waning months of his administration. Two members of the current liberal minority on the Court are Jewish; one, Justice Stephen Breyer, is retiring at the conclusion of this term.