With his historic nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court, President Trump just delivered yet again on his promise to voters to nominate only judges who respect and uphold the Constitution. Kavanaugh is an exceptional jurist, an originalist in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Neil Gorsuch. This is wonderful news for the pro-life movement.
Kavanaugh has established a reputation for fairness and integrity, with more than a decade of experience on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. His tenure has included significant cases dealing with the protection of life and freedom of conscience — and in those cases, he not only reached a just conclusion, but showed sound reasoning on the principles involved.
Kavanaugh made the right call in Garza v. Hargan, in which the ACLU asserted a radical, new constitutional right to abortion on demand for illegal immigrant minors in U.S. custody. Kavanaugh forcefully dissented, concluding that requiring the Trump administration to help a teenage immigrant get an abortion would fail to recognize the government’s “permissible interest in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion.”
In Priests for Life v. HHS, Kavanaugh issued a staunch defense of a pro-life religious organization’s constitutional right to be free of the Obama administration’s abortifacient drug mandate. In his dissent, Kavanaugh charged the panel majority with misapplying the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and contradicting the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.
Some concerns have been raised in the pro-life community about Kavanaugh, citing, for example, comments he made during his confirmation hearing for his federal appeals court spot in 2006. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was badgering him to reveal his personal thoughts on Roe v. Wade, and Kavanaugh unwaveringly responded that Roe was “binding precedent” to which he would adhere “faithfully and fully” if confirmed as an appeals court judge.
Let’s put these concerns in context. Kavanaugh’s answer was not unusual. It was the appropriate, standard one for any judge in his shoes. Kavanaugh prefaced his comments with, “If confirmed to the D.C. Circuit…” As a lower court judge, Kavanaugh would be in no position to rule on the legitimacy of Roe. He simply refused to take Schumer’s bait.
Indeed, last year some pro-life advocates expressed similar doubts about Justice Neil Gorsuch, who recently provided the fifth vote in favor of pro-life pregnancy centers in NIFLA v. Becerra. I have the same confidence in Kavanaugh as in Gorsuch. We should hold all of the well-qualified candidates on President Trump’s list to the same standard and not look for them to compromise their impartiality. Along with some of the most eminent pro-life legal scholars around, I strongly believe Kavanaugh is a worthy nominee whose record stands up to scrutiny.
Kavanaugh’s judicial philosophy of interpreting the law, not making it, shows precisely the wisdom and humility that are essential in a Supreme Court justice. Where others might overreach, he shows restraint. It was activist judges running roughshod over the people and their elected representatives, having the audacity to declare unheard-of “rights” out of thin air, that got us Roe in the first place. Forty-five years of cultural unrest has its roots in that disenfranchisement of voters. The end of Roe should not and will not come about the same way.
When the democratic process is allowed to work, consensus pro-life policies win out — like compassionate legislation to stop abortions after five months of pregnancy, supported by six in 10 Americans and passed by 20 states already. New polling released Tuesday finds that a majority of voters in Senate battleground states want President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee confirmed and also want abortion policy to be decided by the people through their elected representatives, not the Supreme Court.
The swift confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh is a crucial step toward restoring that power, and the hope it contains, to the people. He and President Trump will need grassroots support in the coming battle with the extreme abortion lobby. We urge pro-lifers nationwide to unite behind him now.
LifeNews Note: Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s group.