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 GillibrandMaloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee She Should Run launches initiative to expand number of women in political process 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 TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE for tapping what she described as “anti-choice extremists,” like Supreme Court Justices Brett KavanaughBrett Michael Kavanaugh Christine Blasey Ford receives ACLU courage award Election 2020: Why I'm watching Amy and Andy Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation 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 McConnellFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds McConnell urges Trump to voice support for Hong Kong protesters Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks MORE (R-Ky.) had shattered such norms, first by denying former Supreme Court nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandAppeals court clears way for Congress to seek Trump financial records Divisive docket to test Supreme Court ahead of 2020 Majority disapprove of Trump Supreme Court nominations, says poll 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.”