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White House praises Kavanaugh by quoting dozens of men and zero women

Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote on overturning Roe v. Wade.

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (R) speaks after US President Donald Trump announced his nomination in the East Room of the White House on July 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (CREDIT: MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images)
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (R) speaks after US President Donald Trump announced his nomination in the East Room of the White House on July 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (CREDIT: MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images)

After nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Monday night, a man likely to be the deciding vote on overturning Roe v. Wade, the White House touted the pick in a statement with quotes from 34 male members of Congress — and no women.

It was a glaring oversight, considering the president’s campaign pledge to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who might overturn rulings affecting both women’s health and the health of anyone seeking an abortion or reproductive care.

“President Trump has made a superb choice,” the first quote, from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), reads. “Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an impressive nominee who is extremely well qualified to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.”

The statement goes on like this for some time, with boilerplate quotes from several other senators and representatives, all of whom are men.

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“Historic evening as President Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” a quote from Sen. John Thune (R-SD) reads.

“President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh shows his commitment to selecting judges who are themselves committed to this restraint,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is quoted as saying. “Judge Kavanaugh will bring extensive experience to the Supreme Court; his long career exemplifies public service and, in particular, dedication to religious liberty. He has sown that Constitutional principles are the ultimate guide for his opinions.”

Ryan goes on, saying, “I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s swift confirmation in the Senate. This is an excellent choice.”

During the campaign, Trump explicitly promised to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, saying in a debate with former Secretary of State and then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, “If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen. And that will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”

The “that” in question is overturning Roe.

Politico’s Playbook newsletter Tuesday morning led with a quote from Kavanaugh’s D.C. circuit court confirmation hearing, when he was asked by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), “Do you consider Roe v. Wade to be an abomination and do you consider yourself to be a judicial nominee … in the mold of Scalia and Thomas?”

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Kavanaugh responded, “Senator, on the question of Roe v. Wade, if confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully. That would be binding precedent of the court. It’s been decided by the Supreme Court…. I’m saying if I were confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, senator, I would follow it. It’s been reaffirmed many times.”

Schumer pressed Kavanaugh, saying, “I understand, but what is your opinion? You’re not on the bench yet. You’ve talked about these issues in the past to other people, I’m sure.”

“The Supreme Court has held repeatedly, senator, and I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to give a personal view on that case,” Kavanaugh responded.

As ThinkProgress’ Ian Millhiser wrote Monday night, Kavanaugh did not live up to that promise, dissenting from the majority opinion in Garza v. Hargan, a case in which the majority ruled that the Trump administration could not hold undocumented teenagers in prison to keep them from getting abortions.

Last week, despite his promise to appoint justices who will overturn Roe, Trump said he was unlikely to ask his nominee about their position on abortion.

Such a question is unnecessary, of course, as Trump ultimately chose Kavanaugh from a list curated with extensive input from right wing think tanks that excluded any pro-choice candidates.