Last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court were marked by frustration and prevarication: Frustration on the part of Democrats whose pointed questions to the nominee and calls for documents were largely stonewalled, and prevarication on the part of Kavanaugh who avoided direct answers and made statements that were too often misleading and disingenuous.
Judge Kavanaugh, who serves on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, told the ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, that he considered the 1973 abortion-rights ruling, Roe v. Wade, to be “settled law.” And he reinforced that time and time again by saying it was a precedent that had been followed by another case that was also a precedent, thus giving the impression that the Roe decision could not be overturned.
But in a 2003 email that was made public during the hearing, Kavanaugh wrote, “I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court [sic] can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.”
He repeatedly declined to give a direct answer as to how he felt about the decision, or how he might vote if someone asked the Court to overturn it. However, President Trump repeatedly promised to nominate to the Supreme Court someone who would vote to overturn Roe.