What GOP-nominated judges said about Roe to Senate Panel

WASHINGTON – In one form or another, every Supreme Court nominee will be asked for his or her opinion on the Roe v. Wade on abortion rights, which have been in place for half a century.

Now, a draft opinion obtained by Politico suggests a majority of the court is willing to overturn the landmark 1973 decision and let states determine a woman’s ability to have an abortion.

A look at how the Republican-nominated judges, who now have a 6-3 majority, reacted when asked for their opinion on the case by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:


Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, then the top Democrat on the committee, asked Barrett, “So the question is, what’s happening? Will this judiciary support a law that now has significant precedent? Would you make up your mind whether you would or not?”


“Senator, what I pledge is that I will follow all the rules of rigid adjudication,” Barrett replied, referring to the doctrine of courts that weigh precedent in their decisions.

Barrett went on to say that she would do that for “any issue that comes up, abortion or anything else. I obey the law.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., asked Barrett if she had Roe v. Wade as a “super precedent”. Barrett responded that the way the term is used in “grants,” and the way she had used it in an article, was to define cases that are so well settled that people aren’t seriously pushing for their cancellation.

“And I answer a lot of questions about Roe, which I think suggests that Roe doesn’t fall into that category,” Barrett said.


BRETT KAVANAUGH, 2018: It was also Feinstein who asked Kavanaugh, “What would you say is your position today on a woman’s right to choose?”


“As a judge, he is an important Supreme Court precedent. By “it” I mean Roe vs. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. They have been confirmed multiple times. Casey is setting precedent after precedent, which is itself an important factor to remember,” Kavanaugh said.

Casey was a 1992 decision that reaffirmed a constitutional right to abortion services.

Kavanaugh went on to say that he understands the importance of the issue. “I always try and I hear about the real implications of this decision, as I try, from all my court and Supreme Court decisions.”



President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court nomination was Senator Charles Grassley. R-Iowa, who bluntly asked, “Can you tell me if Roe was decided correctly?

Gorsuch replied, “I would tell you that the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade is a US Supreme Court precedent. It has been reconfirmed. The considerations of trust interest are important there, and all other factors that go into the analysis of precedent must be considered. It is US Supreme Court precedent. It was reaffirmed in Casey in 1992 and in several other cases. So a good judge will take it as precedent from the US Supreme Court, which as precedent should be treated like any other.”




The late Senator Arlen Specter, R-Pa., asked the now chief justice, who was a federal appeals court judge at the time of his appointment: “In your circuit court confirmation hearing, your testimony was read, and it was widely quoted, as: ‘Rogen is the established law of the land.’ Do you mean done for you, just done for your capacity as a circuit judge or beyond?”

Roberts replied: “It is precedent set by the court, which under the principles of rigid judgment is to be respected. And these principles applied in the Casey case explain when cases should and shouldn’t be reopened. And it’s court precedent, yes.”



Specter, the Roe v. Wade unabashedly supported, noting during Alito’s hearings that the “dominant issue” was “widespread concern” about Alito’s position on women’s suffrage. The problem arose because of a 1985 statement by Alito that the constitution did not provide for abortion rights, Spectre explained.


“Do you agree with that statement today, Judge Alito?” Specter asked.

“Well, that was a correct statement of what I thought in 1985 from my perspective of 1985, and that was as Line Counsel at the Justice Department in the Reagan administration.

“If the issue came before me today, if I were lucky enough to be confirmed and the issue came before me, the first question would be the question that we discussed, and that’s the question of rigid decision,” Alito said. “And if the analysis went beyond that point, I would approach the question with an open mind and listen to the arguments that were put forward.”

“So, despite your testimony in 1985, would you approach this with an open mind?” Specter asked.

“Definitely, Senator. That was a statement I made at an earlier point in time when I was in another role, and as I said yesterday, when someone becomes a judge, you really have to put aside the things that you used to do as a lawyer in your legal career and think of legal issues as a judge thinks of legal issues.”


Alito was the author of the leaked draft opinion, which states that the Roe v. Wade was “enormously wrong from the start.”



The late Senator Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, recalled chairing a committee hearing and listening to women being mutilated by “backyard abortifacients.”

Questioning Thomas, the senator said, “I want to ask you again, to appeal for your sympathy, whether or not you believe the Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion?”

Thomas replied: “I think as a kid we heard the muffled whispers about illegal abortions and people performing them in less than safe environments, but it was whispers. It would be natural for a woman to be subjected to the torment of such an environment, on a personal level, it certainly hurts me very, very much. I think any of us would.”


However, Thomas declined to offer his opinion “on the subject, the question you asked me.”

“I think it would undermine my ability to sit impartially in an important case like this,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. What GOP-nominated judges said about Roe to Senate Panel

Justin Scacco

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