President Donald Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices during his time in office, tipping the balance of the court to a 6-3 conservative advantage. Here is what his nominees said at their confirmation hearings about Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that they voted to overturn.
Neil M. Gorsuch, during his 2017 confirmation hearings, said Roe was “a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court. It was reaffirmed in Casey in 1992 and in several other cases.” Gorsuch was referring to Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe. He, however, refused to signal how he would rule in future cases on abortion.
Brett M. Kavanaugh, during his 2018 confirmation hearings, echoed Gorsuch by saying that Roe was an “important precedent of the Supreme Court that has been reaffirmed many times.” But Kavanaugh indicated during his confirmation that he would be open to overturning “settled law,” including Roe, citing a long list of past Supreme Court cases.
Amy Coney Barrett was decidedly more reserved on the Roe precedent during her confirmation hearings in 2020, weeks before the November elections. Barrett said she was committed to obeying “all the rules of stare decisis,” promising that “if a question comes up before me about whether Casey or any other case should be overruled, that I will follow the law of stare decisis, applying it as the court is articulating it, applying all the factors, reliance, workability, being undermined by later facts in law, just all the standard factors.”