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Schumer: Kavanaugh wouldn't say Roe v. Wade was 'correctly decided'

Schumer: Kavanaugh wouldn't say Roe v. Wade was 'correctly decided'
© Anna Moneymaker

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFive takeaways from the final Tennessee Senate debate Schumer rips Trump 'Medicare for all' op-ed as 'smears and sabotage' GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh wouldn't tell him during their meeting that he believed Roe v. Wade was "correctly decided."

"I asked him if he agreed that Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood were correctly decided. He would not say yes," Schumer said, referring to the 1973 case that established the constitutional right to an abortion and a 1992 case that upheld the ruling, respectively.

He added that Kavanaugh's answers "should send shivers down the spine of any American who believes in reproductive freedom for women."

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Schumer's meeting with Kavanaugh came hours after Trump's Supreme Court nominee met with GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Kavanaugh debate was destructive tribalism on steroids: Here’s how we can stop it from happening again Conservative group launches ad campaign thanking Collins after Kavanaugh vote Democrats must end mob rule MORE (Maine). Collins told reporters after the two-hour meeting that Kavanaugh told her he agreed Roe was "settled law."

But Schumer dismissed the word choice, noting the Supreme Court could "unsettle" settled law.

Schumer added that Kavanaugh did not tell him that he believed Roe was "settled law," and would not say if he thought certain restrictions on abortions constituted an "undue burden."

"Judge Kavanaugh has a special obligation to make his views on this topic clear. ... I reminded him repeatedly that he's in a unique position. No other president has nominated someone to the Supreme Court after saying 'I will only nominate someone who overturns Roe v. Wade,' " Schumer said.

Democrats and outside groups have raised the alarm on Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination over concerns that he could help overturn or curb Roe.

Kavanaugh, if confirmed, will give Republicans a fifth conservative justice, helping tilt the court to the right for decades. He was nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, the fifth vote in the 1992 Casey ruling.

Trump said during the presidential election that he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would help overturn Roe v. Wade.

Schumer said on Tuesday that Kavanaugh would not "venture" if he told Trump during their interviews that he was not a guaranteed "yes" vote on overturning the abortion ruling.

Schumer and Kavanaugh met for roughly an hour and a half on Tuesday. In addition to abortion, they also discussed health care, executive authority and Democrats' request for all of Kavanaugh's White House documents.

On the Affordable Care Act, Schumer said Kavanaugh wouldn't say if he believed the law was unconstitutional.

On requiring a president to comply with a subpoena, Schumer said Trump's pick wouldn't say if he would require that.

"He would not say that the president must comply with a subpoena or provide records," he said.

Schumer added that he pressed Kavanaugh on whether a president could be subpoenaed in some instances but Kavanaugh "wouldn't say yes."

Schumer also tried to push Kavanaugh on his work for former President George W. Bush, where he served as both a White House lawyer and staff secretary, but said Kavanaugh "couldn't remember almost anything."

Democrats have focused on documents tied to Kavanaugh's work in the Bush White House, arguing the paperwork is key to understanding how Kavanaugh thinks on some of the most controversial Bush policies, including surveillance and torture.

"That is why the fact that Judge Kavanaugh could not recall almost anything that happened after he was secretary to the president or why he was counsel is why we need his full records," Schumer said.

Schumer said he asked Kavanaugh if he would refuse to go to his confirmation hearing until all of his documents are released, but Kavanaugh wouldn't commit.

He added that Kavanaugh on "every key question" said that he "couldn't recall" the answer.

"His lack of recollection on almost everything didn't ring true," Schumer said.

Asked if he was saying Kavanaugh was lying, Schumer demurred, saying he would stick with what he already said.