Correction [9/06/18, 2:18 p.m. ET]: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) threw her support behind Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Collins actually remains undecided on the issue and said won’t announce her position until after his hearing concludes.
During his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh offered yet another answer affirming Roe v. Wade’s significance while avoiding any declaration on whether the Supreme Court correctly decided the issue.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) specifically asked Kavanaugh about abortion, perhaps the most prominent issue surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
As IJR has reported, progressive groups sounded the alarm after Kavanaugh’s nomination, as he would help conservatives gain a solid majority if confirmed to the Supreme Court.
“What would you say your position today is on a woman’s right to choose?” Feinstein asked.
Kavanaugh said that as a judge, he saw Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey — two landmark decisions preventing states from hindering abortion access — as important precedent for the Court:
“As a judge, it is important precedent of the Supreme Court. By it, I mean Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, been reaffirmed many times. Casey is precedent on precedent, which itself is an important factor to remember and I understand the significance of the issue — the jurisprudential issue and I understand the significance […] of the real-world effects of that decision as I try to do with all the decisions of my court and of the Supreme Court.”
Watch his comments below:
Kavanaugh on a woman’s right to choose: “As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. By it, I mean Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, been reaffirmed many times” pic.twitter.com/uIct9panF3
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 5, 2018
His comments, however, did not include any indication that he would seek to alter the precedents established by Roe and Casey.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said Roe was a critical factor in her vote to confirm, said Kavanaugh told her that he thought Roe was “settled law.”
Feinstein specifically asked Kavanaugh whether he thought Roe was “correct” and could be “overturned,” to which Kavanaugh continued discussing the Court’s previous actions.
“Have your views on whether Roe [v. Wade] is settled precedent or could be overturned…changed since you were in the Bush White House?” Sen. Feinstein asked Kavanaugh. https://t.co/dNuoJRlN2z pic.twitter.com/zeWbbZAuXo
— POLITICO (@politico) September 5, 2018
While many conservatives saw Kavanaugh as a way to further the pro-life cause on the Court, some, like author, Ben Shapiro, doubted he would overturn Roe.
Shapiro told IJR last month that he thought Kavanaugh was a minimalist who would likely oppose the Court reconsidering the entirety of Roe. Instead, he predicted, Kavanaugh would likely focus on incrementally pare away at a standard in Casey requiring the state not put an undue burden on abortion access.