Roe v Wade: senators say Trump supreme court nominees misled them

Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh said they would not overturn landmark abortion ruling, Susan Collins and Joe Manchin say

When the supreme court decided on Friday to overturn Roe v Wade, several senators who recently approved justices responsible for this decision said they felt deceived. These politicians pointed to prior statements from Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch; both male judges had claimed they would not overturn Roe.

“I feel misled,” the Maine senator Susan Collins told the New York Times. In a lengthy meeting on 21 August 2018, the Republican reportedly grilled Kavanaugh to explain why he could be trusted not to overturn Roe.

“Start with my record, my respect for precedent, my belief that it is rooted in the constitution, and my commitment and its importance to the rule of law,” Kavanaugh responded, according to notes taken by “multiple” staffers at the meeting, the Times said. “I understand precedent and I understand the importance of overturning it.”

“Roe is 45 years old, it has been reaffirmed many times, lots of people care about it a great deal, and I’ve tried to demonstrate I understand real-world consequences,” Kavanaugh elaborated, according to these notes. He also claimed, “I am a don’t-rock-the-boat kind of judge. I believe in stability and in the Team of Nine.”

“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting longstanding precedents that the country has relied upon,” Collins said in a statement.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the lone Democrat to back Kavanaugh, voiced similar sentiments. “I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans,” the Times reported him saying.

Senators expressed similar surprise after Politico published a leaked draft of this opinion on 2 May. Among them was the Alaska Republican senator Lisa Murkowski. She opposed Kavanaugh but entered a “present” vote, “as a courtesy” to the Republican Montana senator Steve Daines, who backed him but could not vote as he was attending his daughter’s wedding, per NBC News.

Murkowski did vote to confirm Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, another Trump appointee who voted to overturn Roe. Following the Politico report, NBC News reported Murkowski saying her “confidence in the court has been rocked”.

“If the decision is going the way that the draft that has been revealed is actually the case, it was not – it was not the direction that I believed that the court would take based on statements that have been made about Roe being settled and being precedent,” Murkowski reportedly said.


Victoria Bekiempis

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Five takeaways from US supreme court’s Mississippi abortion rights case hearing
The Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Oganization case could weaken the provisions of the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling

Maya Yang

02, Dec, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Trump says overturning Roe v Wade 'possible' with Barrett on supreme court
President tells Fox & Friends ‘maybe they’d give it back to the states’ regarding 1973 ruling which made abortion legal in the US

Martin Pengelly and Richard Luscombe

27, Sep, 2020 @11:39 PM

Article image
Brett Kavanaugh sidesteps Senate questions on Roe v Wade
Trump’s supreme court nominee was grilled on abortion, gun rights and presidential power on the second day of his hearing

Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington

05, Sep, 2018 @6:14 PM

Article image
Why are Republicans ramming Brett Kavanaugh on to the supreme court?
Mitch McConnell has made it clear: Dr Christine Blasey Ford does not matter. This is about shaping the judiciary for years to come

David Smith in Washington

29, Sep, 2018 @10:58 AM

Article image
Battle lines drawn over abortion ahead of Trump's supreme court pick
In the increasingly acrimonious dispute the two political sides took to talk shows at the start of what promises to be an epic tussle over seat

Ed Pilkington in New York

08, Jul, 2018 @5:56 PM

Article image
US supreme court overturns abortion rights, upending Roe v Wade
Biden calls ruling in pivotal case Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization ‘a tragic error’

Jessica Glenza and Martin Pengelly in New York, and Sam Levin in Los Angeles

24, Jun, 2022 @6:03 PM

Article image
Brett Kavanaugh: protests disrupt Senate supreme court hearing
Dozens of protesters were arrested as Senate Democrats sought to delay a confirmation hearing for Trump’s supreme court nominee

Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington

05, Sep, 2018 @12:05 AM

Article image
The supreme court just overturned Roe v Wade – what happens next?
Court’s move will allow more than half of states to ban abortion, with an immediate and enduring impact on tens of millions of Americans

Jessica Glenza

24, Jun, 2022 @2:15 PM

Article image
Brett Kavanaugh: Trump's supreme court pick is conservative rising star
The DC appeals court judge, 53, worked for Ken Starr’s Bill Clinton inquiry and George W Bush’s White House

Ben Jacobs in Washington

10, Jul, 2018 @2:22 AM

Article image
Roe v Wade: legal experts see limited opportunities to challenge court ruling
Legal scholar Lawrence Tribe: ‘We’re in for a long, tangled, chaotic and, in terms of human suffering, horribly costly struggle’

Edward Helmore

26, Jun, 2022 @10:00 AM