Schumer: Kavanaugh should answer direct questions on Roe because he weighed in on other decisions

Schumer: Kavanaugh should answer direct questions on Roe because he weighed in on other decisions
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step' Five takeaways from Mississippi's Senate debate Watergate’s John Dean: Nixon would tell Trump 'he's going too far' MORE's nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, should have to answer direct questions about his views on the precedents set by Roe v. Wade and other key cases, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerObama: Filibuster makes it 'almost impossible' to govern Democrats need their top general — Pelosi — in age of Trump Facebook reeling after damning NYT report MORE (D-N.Y.) said Sunday.

Schumer's demand came after it was revealed that Kavanaugh suggested that the Supreme Court may have been wrong to force former President Nixon to turn over the recordings that eventually led to the end of his presidency.

"According to his own words, Brett Kavanaugh even believes the 8-0 decision that held Richard Nixon accountable was wrongly decided," Schumer said in a statement. "It bodes very poorly for any decision that [Kavanaugh] might make to hold President Trump accountable."

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"[B]ecause he has demonstrated a willingness to express his views on existing Supreme Court precedents, he must be able to answer direct questions on stare decisis on many other matters, including Roe and healthcare," he added. 

Kavanaugh was tapped by Trump earlier this month to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced that he would retire from the Supreme Court this summer.

Democrats have expressed deep concern, however, that Kavanaugh, a staunch conservative, could weigh in on cases that would effectively undo the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that paved the way for legalized abortion nationwide.

Kavanaugh's views on executive authority are also a concern among Democrats. While he was involved in the independent counsel investigation of former President Clinton, he has since taken a more cautious approach to presidential investigations. 

In a transcript published in a 1999 issue of the Washington Lawyer, Kavanaugh questions the precedent set by U.S. v. Nixon, which placed limits on the president's ability to withhold information relevant to criminal investigations.

The transcript was turned over along with thousands of other documents to the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of Kavanaugh's confirmation process. 

"But maybe Nixon was wrongly decided — heresy though it is to say so. Nixon took away the power of the president to control information in the executive branch by holding that the courts had power and jurisdiction to order the president to disclose information in response to a subpoena sought by a subordinate executive branch official," Kavanaugh said.