There's no doubt about it: Brett Kavanaugh will rule against Roe v. Wade and privacy rights if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Some Republican senators want Americans to think that Roe v. Wade is safe — that Trump's extremist Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, would never rule to overturn the landmark abortion rights case because he respects Supreme Court precedent too much.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who claims to be pro-choice, suggested to reporters in August that she was reassured when Kavanaugh told her he considered Roe v. Wade "settled law."
But this remark "settled" absolutely nothing about what Trump's nominee would do to Americans' basic privacy rights — and during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Senate Democrats shattered any illusions to the contrary.
In a powerful opening statement, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said that Kavanaugh basically tried to rewrite Supreme Court precedent on abortion rights as a federal judge in 2017.
Kavanaugh ruled that the Trump administration was allowed to block a young immigrant from getting an abortion because, essentially, she didn't have enough of a support network to help her make her own decision. Kavanaugh's patronizing ruling was later overturned, and the young woman was finally able to exercise her rights.
"You ignored, and I believe mischaracterized, a Supreme Court precedent," Feinstein told Kavanaugh.
Roe v. Wade protects a woman's right to privacy in making the personal medical decision to get an abortion. Some states require minors to inform their parents first — but the young immigrant woman in this case had already gotten permission from a Texas judge to make the decision on her own.
By ruling against the teen in this case, Feinstein said, Kavanaugh clearly demonstrated that he is "willing to disregard precedent" from the Supreme Court.
Feinstein added that it's not enough for Kavanaugh to say whether he thinks a case is "settled law" — he should also have to admit whether he thinks it's "correct law."
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) also had strong words for Kavanaugh on Roe, calling it a "fairy tale" that Kavanaugh will actually respect precedent.
"The president early on assured evangelicals his Supreme Court picks would attack Roe v. Wade," Whitehouse said. "Despite confirmation-etiquette assurances about precedent, your own words make clear you don't really believe Roe v. Wade is 'settled law' — since the court, as you said, can always overrule its precedent."
Kavanaugh has indeed said that he thinks it's "appropriate that the court overrule precedent in some circumstances." And Trump has indeed long promised he would nominate a Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
But Kavanaugh's obvious contempt for Roe v. Wade has even bigger implications than legal abortion, Feinstein pointed out.
"The impact of overturning Roe is much broader than a woman's right to choose," Feinstein said. "It is about protecting the most personal decisions we all make from government intrusion."
Those decisions include whether to use birth control, who to marry, and where to send your children to school, among many others.
Kavanaugh recently questioned the entire idea of a right to privacy, and praised the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist for ruling against it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.