Kavanaugh lauded Rehnquist's Roe v. Wade dissent in speech last fall: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said during a speech last fall that former Chief Justice William Rehnquist made the right choice to dissent in the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, praising the justice's rejection of the separation of church and state.

In a speech praising Rehnquist first reported by the Los Angeles Times, Kavanaugh reportedly lauded the former chief justice's dismissal of "a wall of separation between church and state," and called Rehnquist his "first judicial hero."

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Kavanaugh particularly praised Rehnquist's argument that a new, "unenumerated" right not defined by the Bill of Rights should be "rooted into the traditions and conscience of our people," adding that Rehnquist could not reach that conclusion when it came to abortion.

“It is fair to say that Justice Rehnquist was not successful in convincing a majority of justices in the context of abortion, either in Roe itself or in later cases such as Casey [v. Planned Parenthood],” Kavanaugh said, according to the Times. “But he was successful in stemming the general tide of freewheeling judicial creation of unenumerated rights that were not rooted in the nation’s history and tradition.”

The reported remarks are Kavanaugh's most notable yet seemingly in favor of overturning the landmark 1973 case that made abortion legal nationwide. President Trump pledged during the campaign to fight to overturn Roe v. Wade through the appointment of conservative Supreme Court justices.

Democrats have made Kavanaugh's stance on the issue central to their opposition to his nomination. At least one Republican, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Overnight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts MORE (Maine), has vowed to join them and vote against any nominee seen as likely to vote to overturn the ruling.

"This nominee will repeal Roe and women’s reproductive freedom and repeal ACA far against what the American people want,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday. “I will oppose him with everything I’ve got.”