Hawley will only back Supreme Court picks who have said Roe v. Wade was ‘wrongly decided’
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said Sunday that he would only vote for a U.S. Supreme Court nominee who believes the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which found access to abortion to be part of the constitutional right to privacy, was incorrectly decided.
“I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided. By explicitly acknowledged, I mean on the record and before they were nominated,” Hawley, who has not yet had the opportunity to vote on a nominee to the high court since his election in 2018, told The Washington Post.
“I don’t want private assurances from candidates. I don’t want to hear about their personal views, one way or another. I’m not looking for forecasts about how they may vote in the future or predications. I don’t want any of that,” he added. “I want to see on the record, as part of their record, that they have acknowledged in some forum that Roe v. Wade, as a legal matter, is wrongly decided.”
Hawley’s comments come a month after a 5-4 ruling striking down a Louisiana abortion law, a case both pro- and anti-abortion rights forces had viewed as the biggest test of the Roe v. Wade precedent since the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, was the swing vote in the ruling, as he was in cases involving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Roberts, for whom Hawley clerked, said during his 2005 confirmation hearing that the 1973 case was “settled as a precedent of the court.”
“This standard, for me, applies to Supreme Court nominees, whether they’re a sitting judge or whatever,” Hawley said. “If there is no indication in their record that at any time they have acknowledged that Roe was wrong at the time it was decided, then I’m not going to vote for them — and I don’t care who nominates them.”
There are no current vacancies on the court, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced earlier this month that she is undergoing chemotherapy treatments, and some top White House officials have reportedly discussed the possibility of Justice Clarence Thomas retiring, although Thomas denied any plans to do so last year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denied a vote or confirmation hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, former President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, in 2016, but he has said he would allow a vote on a Trump nominee in 2020.
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