In a speech on Monday, delivered hours before Trump unveiled his nominee at the White House, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared that whoever the president selected to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy “has an obligation—a serious and solemn obligation—to share their personal views” on a range of contentious legal issues. Schumer alluded to the role of money in politics and the Affordable Care Act as examples of two issues Democrats want answers on. But the most pressing question from Democrats is this: Do you support a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, and will you vote to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed it nationwide, Roe v. Wade?
Republicans immediately scoffed at Schumer’s suggestion that Kavanaugh should be forced to answer such specific questions, with Senator John Cornyn, the party’s second-ranking member, calling it a “pipe dream.” But for Democrats, putting Kavanaugh on the spot may be their only hope of stopping his nomination. In a flurry of statements immediately after—and, in some cases, before—Trump’s announcement, Senate Democrats vowed to oppose Kavanaugh on the grounds that, as a favorite of the conservative Federalist Society, he would provide a fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, side with corporate interests against working people, and generally move an already conservative Court further to the right.