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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification 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 CollinsOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump 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 SchumerGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Why we need to build gateway now Campaign to draft Democratic challenger to McConnell starts raising funds MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday. “I will oppose him with everything I’ve got.”