Via CNS. By “take action” she seems to mean impeaching them and/or maybe charging them with perjury for falsely testifying about Roe during their confirmation hearing. Not burning down their homes or anything.
Although she is pretty desperate to gain traction in the primaries, and she is running on a “girl power!” campaign theme. “Let’s burn down Kavanaugh’s house for abortion rights” might be her best bet at finally shattering that two-percent glass ceiling in Democratic polling.
“[A]s President of the United States, I will not appoint any justice that does not agree that they will support the precedent of Roe v. Wade or other judges,” Gillibrand said.
“That is the law of the land, and I think both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh lied to the Judiciary Committee when they said they would uphold precedent. And if they then go back on this — this statement they made during their confirmation hearings — I think we should look towards what we will do to address it, because we need far more oversight and accountability over these Supreme Court Justices, and if they lied in their hearings, then we should take action.”
Neither Gorsuch nor Kavanaugh vowed to uphold precedent always and everywhere in their confirmation hearings, although each acknowledged that Roe has been reaffirmed many times by the Court, directly and at length in Casey, and that there’s a “reliance interest” in maintaining that precedent, as Gorsuch put it. The thrust of Gorsuch’s remarks was that precedent is important and persuasive but not decisive; you don’t lightly overturn a ruling from which a lengthy and intricate jurisprudence has evolved but you don’t unthinkingly uphold a bad decision for that reason either. If the Court did that, Lochner — and Plessy — would still be on the books. So no, Gillibrand’s not going to nail Gorsuch for perjury. And she’s not going to get 67 Senate votes for impeachment either.
I’d be interested to hear Kavanaugh explain his previous view that Roe is “settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court under stare decisis” if he votes to overturn it, though. “Settled” is a strong word.
But we needn’t worry much about this — not because Gillibrand’s not going to be president, which of course she isn’t, but because Alabama’s idiotic abortion bill is going to maneuver at least John Roberts and maybe Kavanaugh and Gorsuch into the liberal camp in upholding Roe if it reaches the Court. Yesterday I called it a “political disaster.” Today Jonathan Last argues that it’s more like the political equivalent of a Biblical catastrophe:
The Alabama law is nothing more than virtue signaling. It has nothing—nothing whatsoever—to do with curtailing actual abortions being performed in the real world…
For the last 25-years public opinion has moved in the pro-life direction. Technology has helped, as pre-natal medicine and ultrasounds brought into focus the very real life of the unborn. But pro-lifers did a good job of not asking the law to take steps the public wasn’t ready for and refusing to get into fights about edge cases.
And now, we have the Republican party of Alabama creating a meaningless law with no chance of standing that goes directly contrary to the main body of public opinion and focuses, by design, on the edge cases of rape and incest…
This law is going to drive pro-choice fundraising for a decade.
Instead of spending their time on offense, arguing that America’s legal regime for abortion is waaaaaaay too permissive of terminations after the first trimester, pro-lifers are going to spend at least the next year and a half playing defense on why there should be no exceptions for rape and incest, notes Last. Vulnerable Republicans who are up for election next year are fleeing in terror:
Asked Susan Collins if she's confident Kavanaugh would strike down new Alabama abortion law. "The Alabama law is a terrible law – it’s very extreme – it essentially bans all abortions. I can’t imagine that any justice could find that to be consistent with the previous precedence"
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 16, 2019
Cory Gardner’s going to end up denouncing the bill too to protect himself in Colorado. The only suspense is whether the law is struck down at the circuit court level and ignored by SCOTUS or if the Court’s four liberals make Roberts choke on it by granting cert, and then Roberts plus the liberals plus maybe the two Trump appointees torpedo the bill themselves, igniting a nuclear meltdown of political recriminations on the right. As Last says, “Planned Parenthood couldn’t have designed a better weapon in their wildest dreams.”