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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values 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 CollinsTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback The Memo: Concern over shutdown grows in Trump World Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal 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 SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday. “I will oppose him with everything I’ve got.”