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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report 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 Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force House Dems follow Senate action with resolution to overturn IRS donor disclosure guidance Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure 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 SchumerRetired Gen. McChrystal: Sending troops to build wall could be seen as ‘misuse of power’ ‘It’s called transparency’ works for Trump on TV, not so much on campaign finance Trump, Pelosi, Schumer: No adult in the room MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday. “I will oppose him with everything I’ve got.”