With scant record, Supreme Court nominee elusive on abortion

Law Journals

Twice in the past year, Brett Kavanaugh offered glimpses of his position on abortion that strongly suggest he would vote to support restrictions if confirmed to the Supreme Court.

One was in a dissent in the case of a 17-year-old migrant seeking to terminate her pregnancy. The other was a speech before a conservative group in which he spoke admiringly of Justice William Rehnquist's dissent in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that established a woman's right to abortion.

Yet the big question about Kavanaugh's view on abortion remains unanswered: whether he would vote to overturn Roe. He'll almost certainly decline to answer when he is asked directly at his confirmation hearing. Decades of Kavanaugh's writings, speeches and judicial opinions, reviewed by The Associated Press, reveal a sparse record on abortion.

That leaves the migrant case, known as Garza v. Hargan, and the Rehnquist speech as focal points for anti-abortion activists who back President Donald Trump's nominee and for abortion rights advocates who say Kavanaugh has provided ample clues to justify their worst fears.

"This is the rhetoric from the anti-abortion groups being used by a potential Supreme Court justice, and that really gives us pause," said Jacqueline Ayers, the national director of legislative affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Democrats have been casting Kavanaugh as a threat to abortion rights as they face the difficult task of blocking his nomination in a Senate where Republicans hold a narrow majority. Kavanaugh's views on other issues, such as the reach of presidential powers, will also be part of a confirmation fight. But abortion is perpetually a contentious issue for court nominees, and the stakes are particularly high this time since Kavanaugh would be replacing the moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has voted to uphold abortion rights.

Related listings

  • Man charged with killing 5 in newsroom to appear in court

    Man charged with killing 5 in newsroom to appear in court

    National Legal News 07/30/2018

    A man charged with killing five people in The Capital newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, is scheduled to be in court.An initial appearance for Jarrod Ramos is set for Monday morning in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. A grand jury has indicted Ramos ...

  • Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh's gun views are clear

    Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh's gun views are clear

    Legal Compliance 07/30/2018

    Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh says he recognizes that gun, drug and gang violence "has plagued all of us." Still, he believes the Constitution limits how far government can go to restrict gun use to prevent crime.As a federal appeals court ju...

  •  Chicago releases plan for court-monitored police reform

    Chicago releases plan for court-monitored police reform

    Law Review 07/28/2018

    Chicago and state officials released a plan Friday to carry out far-reaching police reforms under federal court supervision more than a year after a U.S. Justice Department investigation found a longstanding history of civil rights violations by the ...

New York Commercial Litigation Law Firm - Woods Lonergan PLLC

Founded in 1993 by Managing Partner James F. Woods, Woods Lonergan PLLC has built a strong reputation as a resourceful and industrious firm that provides clients with clear, concise, and straightforward answers to their most challenging legal issues. Partner Lawrence R. Lonergan, who joined the firm in 2008, has been a friend and colleague to Mr. Woods for over 40 years and shares the same business philosophy. Woods Lonergan PLLC’s collective experience and expertise enables the firm to expeditiously and effectively analyze the increasing challenges clients face in an evolving business and legal world, in many instances, avoiding unnecessary time and expense to our clients. Our mission is simple: provide cutting-edge expertise and sound advice in select areas of the law for corporate and business clients. We thrive on providing each client with personalized attention, forceful representation, and a collaborative team effort that embraces collective knowledge.