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
© UPI Photo
Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet 'Game of Thrones' scores record-breaking 32 Emmy nominations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet 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 TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE for tapping what she described as “anti-choice extremists,” like Supreme Court Justices Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Former Justice John Paul Stevens dies at age 99 Robert De Niro nominated for Emmy for 'SNL' role playing Robert Mueller 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.
ADVERTISEMENT


“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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.) had shattered such norms, first by denying former Supreme Court nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors John Legend: Republicans play to win, Biden plays to impress the media Biden says he opposes expanding the Supreme Court 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.”