The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Pence: I want Roe v. Wade overturned, ‘but I haven’t been nominated for the Supreme Court’

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, left, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, and Vice President Pence at the Capitol on Tuesday. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

Vice President Pence said Tuesday that while he would personally like to see the Supreme Court one day overturn its landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion, neither he nor President Trump has discussed the issue with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Asked by CNN’s Dana Bash whether he wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned, Pence replied, “I do, but I haven’t been nominated for the Supreme Court.”

“I stand for the sanctity of life,” Pence added. “This administration, this president are pro-life, but what the American people ought to know is that, as the president said today, this is not an issue that he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh.”

Pence spent his day on Capitol Hill accompanying Kavanaugh to meetings with Senate leaders after Trump’s announcement Monday night that the 53-year-old judge, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is his choice to succeed Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is retiring.

Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) welcomed Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Capitol on July 10. (Video: The Washington Post)

In laying out their case against Kavanaugh's confirmation, Democrats have made abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act a primary focus. “This nominee will repeal Roe and women’s reproductive freedom, will repeal ACA — far against what the American people want,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump pledged to consider only Supreme Court nominees who were against abortion rights, while Pence has said that he longs for the day when Roe v. Wade “is sent to the ash heap of history.”

Even so, Trump and those advising him throughout the process of choosing a Supreme Court nominee have maintained that the president has refrained from raising the issue with any of his potential court picks.

In a separate interview on Fox News Channel, Pence said the White House was “very encouraged at the early response” to Kavanaugh and has “every confidence” that he will be confirmed.