Gillibrand sets litmus test: I will only nominate judges who back Roe v. Wade

Gillibrand sets litmus test: I will only nominate judges who back Roe v. Wade
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Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDefense bill talks set to start amid wall fight Democrats seize Senate floor to protest gun inaction: 'Put up or shut up' At debate, Warren and Buttigieg tap idealism of Obama, FDR MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday set a litmus test for judicial nominees under her would-be presidential administration, declaring that, if elected, she would only nominate judges who vow to uphold Roe v. Wade.

In a post on Medium, the 2020 Democratic candidate hammered President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE for tapping what she described as “anti-choice extremists,” like Supreme Court Justices Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Kavanaugh book authors dismayed about Democrats 'rush to judgment' on impeachment calls Clinton celebrates first visibly pregnant CEO to be on business magazine cover MORE and Neil Gorsuch, to federal courts.

Gillibrand argued that with those nominations, Trump has empowered Republican lawmakers to pursue restrictive anti-abortion measures that threaten the protections offered by the landmark 1973 abortion rights case.
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“So today, I’m announcing that as president, I will only nominate judges —  including Supreme Court justices  —  who will commit to upholding Roe v. Wade as settled law and protect women’s reproductive rights,” Gillibrand wrote.

Most Democrats have long demanded that the courts uphold the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which held that a woman’s right to have an abortion is protected under the Constitution.

But candidates and presidents have largely refrained in the past from setting such litmus tests for would-be judicial nominees out of concern that doing so would raise questions about the impartiality of the courts.

Gillibrand acknowledged that it is unusual for presidential candidates to stake out such firm positions on judicial nominations, especially so early in their campaigns.

But she argued that Republicans, namely Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Budowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet MORE (R-Ky.) had shattered such norms, first by denying former Supreme Court nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Gorsuch: Those who don't have 'great confidence in America' should 'look elsewhere' Trump stacking lower courts MORE a confirmation hearing in the Senate, and later by confirming Kavanaugh to the high court despite allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

In weighing in on potential judicial nominations, Gillibrand is hoping to set herself apart from the rest of the Democratic primary field, which now includes more than 20 candidates. While other candidates have sought to stake out policy positions early on in a bid to define some of the issues that will drive the 2020 primary contest, the New York senator is the first to lay out her plans for judicial nominations.

“Women deserve a president who understands the real stakes of this fight for the judiciary. President Trump is appointing circuit court judges at a record pace, not to mention making two Supreme Court appointments,” Gillibrand wrote.

“The impact of those appointments on Americans  —  and on reproductive rights in this country  —  will extend far beyond the end of his presidency. We have to fight back.”