Heh. Say it with me: Every case is “settled law” until it isn’t. Plessy v. Ferguson was “settled law” (for longer than Roe has been, in fact). When you ask if Roe is settled law, you invite a Clintonian retort: It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.
Don’t forget either that Kavanaugh is an appellate judge. For the D.C. Circuit on which he presently sits, it is in fact true that Roe and its sequel, Casey, are binding precedent. “Settled law.” For the Supreme Court, though?
Not so much. Not so much.
It’s not just righties who recognize this as evasive shtick:
This may have worked for Susan Collins the first few times, but people see right through it now. There are no Republican moderates. It's an extremist party. https://t.co/GUfXmdByu0
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) August 21, 2018
As a tell of how sincere this proclamation is or is being taken, just watch how many anti-abortion Senators or even anti-abortion outside groups put out statements of concern on Kavanaugh now. The answer will be, approximately, zero. https://t.co/UigDoryLMx
— Sam Stein (@samstein) August 21, 2018
Out of curiosity, I did a Twitter search to see if I could find one pro-choicer who was excited by her comment or one pro-lifer who was disappointed by it. Does anyone, right or left, take seriously the possibility that Kavanaugh has ruled out overruling Roe?
No, not one that I could find. America’s seen the great SCOTUS-confirmation tapdance on abortion so many times by now that it can perform the routine itself. And Varad Mehta is correct about this:
I said it before Kavanaugh was nominated: "the resistance" and media's mistake was framing Collins as if she were seeking a path to "No." That's exactly backward. She's always been looking for the path to "Yes." Once you get that, the rest is noise. https://t.co/bTloYE92VL
— Varad Mehta (@varadmehta) August 21, 2018
Collins and Murkowski would be looking for ways to support the nominee no matter who it was, but they were each so bullish on Kavanaugh from the beginning that it was clear they’d be willing to pretend to take an answer from him like this one on Roe at face value in the interest of confirming him. It would have been interesting to see if they’d have been as sanguine about the same reassurances coming from Amy Coney Barrett, a judge whose commitment to overturning Roe seemed sturdier (to her admirers, at least) than Kavanaugh’s. Maybe we’ll get to see how that plays out after all if the Ginsburg or Breyer seat comes vacant before 2020.
Following her meeting with #SCOTUS nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, @SenatorCollins says on Roe v. Wade that "he said that he agreed with what Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearing in which he said that it was settled law." pic.twitter.com/mHmFD3b6Tr
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 21, 2018