The decision by six justices to end the constitutional right to abortion — overturning landmark rulings like Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey — has cast a renewed spotlight on what they said on the topic during their confirmation hearings.
Following the standard playbook of most nominees, they all avoided directly stating how they would rule in either case, typically sticking to expressing their belief in the importance of precedent, the legal doctrine of “stare decisis.”
Here is a sampling:
Pressed on whether she would vote to overturn decisions protecting abortion rights, Judge Barrett gave no hint of how she might rule.
“What I will commit is that I will obey all the rules of stare decisis, that if a question comes up before me about whether Casey or any other case should be overruled, that I will follow the law of stare decisis, applying it as the court is articulating it, applying all the factors, reliance, workability, being undermined by later facts in law, just all the standard factors,” she said during her confirmation hearing in October 2020. “I promise to do that for any issue that comes up, abortion or anything else. I’ll follow the law.”
Judge Kavanaugh, questioned repeatedly about how he would rule on Roe, declined to directly answer whether the decision was “correct law.”
Roe v. Wade “is important precedent of the Supreme Court that has been reaffirmed many times. But then Planned — and this is the point that I want to make that I think is important. Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed Roe and did so by considering the stare decisis factors,” he said in 2018. “So Casey now becomes a precedent on precedent. It is not as if it is just a run-of-the-mill case that was decided and never been reconsidered, but Casey specifically reconsidered it, applied the stare decisis factors, and decided to reaffirm it. That makes Casey a precedent on precedent.”
Judge Gorsuch, President Donald J. Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, refused to say how he would rule on abortion.
“Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed. The reliance interest considerations are important there, and all of the other factors that go into analyzing precedent have to be considered,” he told senators in March 2017. “It is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court. It was reaffirmed in Casey in 1992 and in several other cases. So a good judge will consider it as precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent like any other.”
He added, “For a judge to start tipping his or her hand about whether they like or dislike this or that precedent would send the wrong signal. It would send the signal to the American people that the judge’s personal views have something to do with the judge’s job.”
During his confirmation hearing in January 2006, Mr. Alito said he would approach the issue of abortion with an open mind.
“Roe v. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It was decided in 1973, so it has been on the books for a long time,” he said.
But he stopped short of calling the landmark ruling settled law.
“If settled means it can’t be re-examined, then that’s one thing,” he told senators on the Judiciary Committee. “If settled means that it is a precedent that is entitled to respect as stare decisis, and all of the factors that I’ve mentioned come into play, including the reaffirmation and all of that, then it is a precedent that is protected, entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis in that way.”
He added, “It has been challenged. It has been reaffirmed. But it is an issue that is involved in litigation now at all levels.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. dodged the question of where he stood on abortion during his confirmation hearing in 2005, saying that he might someday have to rule on the issue before him.
“I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent. Precedent plays an important role in promoting stability and evenhandedness. It is not enough — and the court has emphasized this on several occasions. It is not enough that you may think the prior decision was wrongly decided,” he said at the time. “That really doesn’t answer the question. It just poses the question. And you do look at these other factors, like settled expectations, like the legitimacy of the court, like whether a particular precedent is workable or not, whether a precedent has been eroded by subsequent developments. All of those factors go into the determination of whether to revisit a precedent under the principles of stare decisis.
He continued, “I’ve tried as scrupulously as possible today to avoid making any commitments about cases that might come before the court.”
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 1991, Judge Thomas sidestepped declaring his views on abortion and declined to state whether Roe had been properly decided.
“The Supreme Court, of course, in the case of Roe v. Wade has found an interest in the woman’s right to — as a fundamental interest a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy,” he said. “I do not think that at this time that I could maintain my impartiality as a member of the judiciary and comment on that specific case.”
“Senator, your question to me was did I debate the contents of Roe v. Wade, the outcome in Roe v. Wade, do I have this day an opinion, a personal opinion, on the outcome in Roe v. Wade,” he added, “and my answer to you is that I do not.”
Soruce : https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/06/20/us/roe-wade-abortion-supreme-court/what-did-roe-v-wade-say