Murkowski predicts Barrett won't overturn Roe v. Wade

Murkowski predicts Barrett won't overturn Roe v. Wade
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGraham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Republicans see Becerra as next target in confirmation wars MORE (R-Alaska) just before the Senate vote to confirm Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettThe Jan. 6 case for ending the Senate filibuster Laurence Tribe: Justice Thomas is out of order on 2020 election McConnell backs Garland for attorney general MORE to the Supreme Court predicted the Trump nominee will not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case establishing a right to an abortion, once she is on the Supreme Court.

“I don’t see her overturning the decision in Roe v. Wade, based on — based on the weighting of the reliance factors,” Murkowski, a GOP moderate who is voting for Barrett, said Monday evening.

“I believe, I believe, that given how she outlined, not only to me but how she spoke to the issue of reliance when she was before the committee, I believe that she will look at that and weight that in any matters, in any cases that come before her that take up Roe v. Wade,” she explained.


Murkowski is viewed as a pro-choice senator but she has supported some restrictions. She does not support using federal funds to pay for abortion or late-term abortions.

“While I support a women’s right to make her own reproductive choices, that support is not without limits,” she said earlier this year.

Murkowski was one of two Republican senators, along with Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins urges Biden to revisit order on US-Canada border limits Media circles wagons for conspiracy theorist Neera Tanden Why the 'Never-Trumpers' flopped MORE (R-Maine), who said the Senate should not confirm President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE’s nominee to replace late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general A powerful tool to take on the Supreme Court — if Democrats use it right Fauci says he was nervous about catching COVID-19 in Trump White House MORE before the Nov. 3 election.

Murkowski on Monday said she spent about an hour and twenty minutes meeting with Barrett and asking her about her judicial philosophy. The Alaska Republican said she wanted to hear the nominee’s views of precedent and the importance of “reliance,” a legal term referring to how individuals come to rely on standing interpretations of law.

Murkowski also said she noted to Barrett that she was 14 years old when the Roe decision was made.

She said she talked with Barrett about “what that means to overturn, potentially overturn something, that generations of women are relying on.”


“There’s no doubt in my mind that she has the intelligence” to be a strong justice and “clearly is a brilliant jurist,” Murkowski said. “That may be what scares some but I think we want to have justices that have an extraordinary grasp and understanding of the law, which she currently does.”

Other Republicans have different views of how Barrett may rule on a challenge or potential curtailment of Roe v. Wade, such as Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Texas attorney general hits links with Trump before CPAC appearance The Memo: CPAC fires starting gun on 2024 MORE (R-Mo.), who insisted that Trump nominate a judge to the Supreme Court with a record of skepticism toward Roe v. Wade.

Hawley has since said he is very pleased with Barrett joining the high court. He praised her Monday afternoon as “an individual who has been open in her criticism of that illegitimate decision Roe v. Wade.”

Murkowski, when asked about the differing views of the nominee, replied: “This is why it’s so important that we as individual senators take the time to not only read [but] to listen and to ask questions in ways that may be different.”

“Perhaps how [a question] is asked is equally important,” she said. “I think if you were to ask Judge Barrett for a document that you could point to that says clearly that she would vote to overturn [Roe v. Wade,] she would say you’re not going to find one.”

Murkowski noted that Barrett signed an advertisement in the South Bend Tribune in 2006 that called for the overturning of the “barbaric legacy” of Roe v. Wade but also pointed out she did so as an individual, not as a judge.

“Fairly weighting and evaluating, I believe she won’t vote to overturn Roe v. Wade,” she reiterated.

Murkowski also said she does not think Barrett will rule to strike down the 2010 Affordable Care Act after it comes before the Supreme Court on Nov. 10.

“Based on so much that I have heard, so much that I have read, so much that has been debated, I believe what we’re going to see is this issue of severability, where the ACA will not be thrown out,” she said.

Barrett testified before the Judiciary Committee earlier this month that the concept of severability, under which parts of a law can be ruled invalid without striking down the entire law, is well established.

"The presumption is always in favor of severability," Barrett told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report MORE (R-S.C.).

When Graham asked for clarification that the “main thing" was that justices recognize a "presumption" to save an underlying law, Barrett replied: "That's correct." 

Barrett gave little indication during her confirmation hearings about how she viewed Roe v. Wade, however.

When Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinProgressive support builds for expanding lower courts Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill What exactly are uber-woke educators teaching our kids? MORE (D-Calif.) asked Barrett if she agreed with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey or his view that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled, the nominee declined to answer.

“If I express a view on a precedent one way or another, whether I say I love it or I hate it, it signals to litigant I might tilt one way or another in a pending case,” Barrett said.