With echoes there could soon be a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, should Justice Samuel Alito retire, one Republican senator is making it clear he won’t support any potential nominee who doesn’t believe the high court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade was “wrongly decided.”
“I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said during an interview with The Washington Post.
The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade gave legal cover for abortion across the country.
Historically, nominees discuss issues like abortion during one-on-one conversations with senators, where they often share their perspectives of various hut-button issues. That, though, is not enough for Hawley: he wants a record of public statements speaking out against Roe.
“By ‘explicitly acknowledged,’” he told the Post, “I mean on the record and before they were nominated [for the Supreme Court].”
The conservative senator later added, “I don’t want private assurances from candidates. I don’t want to hear about their personal views, one way or another. I’m not looking for forecasts about how they may vote in the future or predictions. I don’t want any of that. I want to see, on the record, as part of their record, that they have acknowledged, in some forum, that Roe v. Wade, as a legal matter, is wrongly decided.”
Hawley, described by Politico as “the Republican Obama,” is thought to be a potential presidential contender in 2024. Earlier on in his career, the now-senator clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts, who declared during his 2005 confirmation hearing that the Roe ruling is “settled as a precedent of the court.”
Ever since then, the progressive left has made support of Roe sort of a litmus test for its nominees to the high court.
“Roe is central to judicial philosophy,” Hawley told the newspaper. “Roe is and was an unbridled act of judicial imperialism. It marks the point the modern Supreme Court said, ‘You know, we don’t have to follow the Constitution. We won’t even pretend to try.’”
The Missouri senator is doing his part to undo that.
He added to the Post that, “if there is no indication in [a nominee’s] record that, at any time, they have acknowledged that Roe was wrong at the time it was decided, then I’m not going to vote for them — and I don’t care who nominates them.”
It’s also worth noting that, though there are no current vacancies on the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced recently she is undergoing chemotherapy treatments and White House staffers have reportedly discussed the possibility of Justice Clarence Thomas retiring. Thomas, however, has denied any intention to do so.