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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 GillibrandAustin tight lipped on whether to take sexual assault cases out of commanders' hands Gillibrand touts legislation to lower drug costs: This idea 'is deeply bipartisan' A bipartisan effort to prevent the scourge of sexual assault in the armed forces 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 TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE for tapping what she described as “anti-choice extremists,” like Supreme Court Justices Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughConservative justices split in ruling for immigrant fighting deportation Supreme Court weighs whether to limit issuance of exemptions to biofuel blending requirements The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP makes infrastructure play; Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill 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 McConnellManchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Romney: Removing Cheney from House leadership will cost GOP election votes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections MORE (R-Ky.) had shattered such norms, first by denying former Supreme Court nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns One quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors DOJ faces big decision on home confinement 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.”