Anti-Abortion Group Doubles Down on Kavanaugh After He told Susan Collins Roe Is ‘Settled Law’

Supreme Court nominee discussed abortion ruling with moderate Republican senator

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Brett Kavanaugh told her Roe v. Wade is "settled law," during a two-hour meeting Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A leading anti-abortion group reiterated Tuesday its support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a meeting with Sen. Susan Collins in which he reportedly said Roe v. Wade was settled law. 

“Even if he made a statement calling Roe v. Wade ‘settled law,’ he was only restating the position the Supreme Court has taken on Roe,” President and CEO of Americans United for LifeCatherine Glenn Foster said in a statement issued shortly after the afternoon meeting.  It is the Justices of the Supreme Court who determine what the law is, and no one can predict how a particular judge or Justice will vote on a specific case, especially one who, like Judge Kavanaugh, is not a results-driven judicial activist.”

The statement came as pro-abortion rights groups weighed in. They said Kavanaugh’s statement was meaningless because it referred to the court’s past actions, not to what he would do if confirmed. 

Maine’s Collins and Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowksi are considered keys to Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation because they both support the landmark Supreme Court ruling granting women the right to abortions. Collins has said she will not vote to confirm a justice who is hostile to that decision. 

After meeting with Kavanaugh for more than two hours, Collins said he answered all of her questions about the case, but that she would not make a final decision about his confirmation until after his hearing before the Judiciary Committee.

Kavanaugh has been consistent throughout his 12-year career on the federal bench, Foster said. 

“His highest loyalty is to the meaning of the Constitution as it was originally written, not his own personal views of what it should mean,” she said. “Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is favored by the pro-life movement, not because we believe he’s a sure bet to overturn Roe v. Wade – that would be results-driven judicial activism – but because his judicial philosophy is in stark contrast to the result-driven judicial activism that gave us Roe. Even many liberals, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have criticized Roe as being poorly reasoned, ungrounded from our nation’s founding documents, and even “indefensible.”

Meanwhile, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL pro-choice America said, the term "settled law," means nothing.

"It is a bunch of code words, long used by many conservative judges, meant to hide their real beliefs and anti-choice record," she said in a statement. 

Staff writers Niels Lesniewski, Mary Ellen McIntire and Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report. 


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