Now that he has been sworn in as a Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh is ready to convert retired justice Anthony Kennedy’s swing vote into a reliably conservative one. And public officials are saying that could be disastrous for reproductive freedom.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) told ABC television that even if the new conservative majority on the Court does not immediately overturn Roe v. Wade, they will nullify it. She said Kavanaugh’s past decisions and dissents revealed his opposition to reproductive choice.
“So it doesn’t matter to me frankly — yes of course it matters if they go over there and actually overturn Roe v. Wade, which I doubt they’re going to do,” told This Week.
“The states are very busy passing all kinds of laws that will limit a women’s right to choose. It’s those cases that will go before a justice.”
Karl asked if she truly doubted that the Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. She replied, “even if they don’t they will nullify it, pretty much.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono tells @jonkarl that with Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, she doubts the court will "actually overturn Roe v. Wade" but "even if they don’t, they will nullify it, pretty much" https://t.co/ql1rZdibKC #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/RbKmSgHcLy
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 7, 2018
What kinds of cases will Kavanaugh and the Court look at in coming terms that will nullify Roe v. Wade? White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, who was interviewed by moderator Jon Karl just before Senator Hirono, listed late-term abortion, abortion on demand, and funding for Planned Parenthood as areas where the Court could begin the campaign to curtail abortion rights. “Most Americans think there are limits to having abortions.”
Karl had posed a question to Conway about candidate Trump’s promise to put pro-life justices on the Court in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade completely.
That is clearly what some Republicans are eager to have happen.
“Soon, babies like this little angel will be protected in the womb by law,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) tweeted after Kavanaugh’s confirmation, with a photo of a sleeping infant.
Soon, babies like this little angel will be protected in the womb by law. pic.twitter.com/tXYnETjI5S
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) October 6, 2018
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stonewalled on the question in July when she was asked if the president wanted to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
Dana Bash asked Susan Collins on CNN’s State of the Union how she could be “100 percent certain Kavanaugh will not overturn Roe v. Wade.
“I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh will overturn,” Collins began, before Bash interjected, “precedents are overturned all the time.”
“They’re not,” Collins replied. “And listen to the standards put forth in his conversation with me and also in the hearing. It would have to have been grievously wrong and deeply inconsistent. He noted that Roe had been reaffirmed 19 years later by Planned Parenthood v. Casey and it was precedent on precedent. He said it should be extremely rare that it be overturned and it should be an example.” Bash asked her again, “you have full confidence?”
“I do,” Collins replied.
However, Kavanaugh’s answers under oath were far less clear.
When I asked Judge Kavanaugh about whether Roe and Casey were settled law and whether they were correctly decided, he refused to answer. He would only say these cases are “entitled to respect”.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) October 5, 2018
He may have defended precedent as a concept as a lower court judge, but on the Supreme Court, that means a lot less. He refused to tell Sen. Dianna Feinstein (D-CA) whether he thought Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were correctly decided.