Since former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court in July, many pro-choice activists have warned of the damage his appointment could do to reproductive rights. And now, a newly leaked email has cast doubt on whether or not Kavanaugh believes the landmark court case Roe v. Wade can be overturned.
The New York Times published the confidential email today, September 6th. The message, which was sent in March 2003, was leaked to the Times from thousands of documents released to the Senate Judiciary Committee about Kavanaugh’s time as a White House Counsel under President George W. Bush.
The email concerned an anti-abortion opinion piece that Kavanaugh was drafting on behalf of a group of pro-life women. In the message, he proposed removing a line that said legal scholars deem Roe v. Wade as “the settled law of the land.” Kavanaugh wrote that he was “not sure” that all legal scholars held this opinion because the Supreme Court “can always overrule its precedent.”
During confirmation proceedings today, California Senator Dianne Feinstein asked Kavanaugh to clarify what he said in the email, as shown in a video tweeted by Politico. The Supreme Court nominee said that he had meant to refer to legal scholars’ opinions in the email, and that Roe v. Wade was clearly a legal precedent. But he was careful to avoid saying what he thought of the decision or hint at whether or not he would vote to overturn it.
HuffPost notes that during questioning on September 5th, Kavanaugh said he considers Roe v. Wade precedent.
However, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, tweeted that she believes the email indicates that Kavanaugh would “gut Roe v. Wade” if given the chance.
Other leaked documents about Kavanaugh could also land the nominee in hot water. CNN reported that New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has said he will release confidential documents pertaining to Kavanaugh and racial profiling, a move that could potentially get Booker expelled from the Senate.
The newly released 2003 email certainly seems to undermine Kavanaugh’s claim that he views Roe v. Wade as absolute legal precedent. If you feel strongly about this issue, contact your representatives today and let them know.