During his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Tuesday, federal judge Neil Gorsuch was repeatedly asked about his stand on abortion and whether he would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade High Court ruling that found women had the right to privacy in medical and reproductive matters, which in practice made abortion on demand legal in the United States.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is holding the hearings, asked Gorsuch about the case.
“I think the case most people are thinking about right now and the case that every nominee gets asked about [is] Roe v. Wade,” Grassely asked. “Can you tell me whether Roe was decided correctly?”
“It is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” Gorsuch said. “It was reaffirmed in Casey in 1992, and in several other cases. So a good judge will consider it as precedent of the United States Supreme Court, worthy as treatment of precedent like any other,” he added.
The Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 that states can put certain restrictions on abortion as long as those restrictions don’t create “undue burden” for women seeking to have an abortion.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Gorsuch if President Donald Trump ever asked him if he would overturn Roe v. Wade.
“I would have walked out the door,” Gorsuch said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked Gorsuch if he thought Roe v. Wade amounted to a “super precedent” law, a term referring to a law that has be upheld so many times it could be difficult to undo.
Gorsuch did not directly answer the question. During the past three days of questioning, Gorsuch has repeatedly said that he has to be cautious about commenting on specific issues that could come before him if he is confirmed as an associate justice on the court.
Gorsuch has also said, correctly, that legal abortion is currently “the law of the land.”
“As wrong as Roe is, Judge Gorsuch is correct that it is currently the law of the land,” said Ken Klulkowski, senior legal editor for Breitbart News. “This does not mean that if given the opportunity that he would not vote to overrule Roe.”
“Judge Gorsuch’s statement is completely consistent with pro-lifers’ hopes and President Trump’s campaign promise,” Klukowski said.
Although Democrats are resisting Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, none opposed his nomination to be a federal appellate judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, where he has served for ten years.