Senator Josh Hawley: Supreme Court Nominees Must Acknowledge Roe Is ‘Wrongly Decided’ 

SFLA Staff - 29 Jul 2020

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) made it clear that he would not confirm any Supreme Court justice nominee that has not publicly stated that Roe v. Wade was “wrongly decided.” The 1973 Supreme Court ruling continues to be a controversial decision, as the Court’s nationwide legalization of abortion overlooked the science of fetology and relied on several falsehoods regarding the safety of the procedure. The advancement of ultrasound technology and our understanding of fetal development have disproven much of the reasoning laid out by the Justices. 

However, the difficulties of overturning a Supreme Court ruling, combined with the well-funded abortion lobby, have made overturning Roe a challenge. But Hawley’s efforts may bring about a Justice that is determined to rectify this flawed decision. 

“I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided,” Hawley told The Washington Post. “By explicitly acknowledged, I mean on the record and before they were nominated.”

“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 predications. 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,” he said. 

Hawley declaring that the Senate Judiciary Committee will focus on abortion during the next confirmation hearings likely stems from several disappointing rulings, particularly from Chief Justice John G. Roberts. Recently,  Justice Roberts sided with the liberal judges in striking down a law that required abortionists to abide by the same standards as an ambulatory surgical center. This regulation also required abortion providers to be cleared as competent medical providers and hold admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion business. 

Hopefully, Hawley’s efforts will succeed in curbing the judicial activism that has infected the Court ever since Roe was decided. 

“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,’” Hawley said. “This standard, for me, applies to Supreme Court nominees, whether they’re a sitting judge or whatever.” 

Hawley is a former law professor and clerk for Roberts, and could potentially change the way Republicans evaluate Supreme Court nominees. This may distance potential justices from Robert’s previous statements that Roe was “settled as a precedent of the court.” 

“This is not an attempt to push forward a particular person,” Hawley said. “This is about where I’m going to be on Supreme Court nominees.”

Since he defeated Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) back in 2018, Hawley has yet to vote on a Supreme Court nominee. Both Hawley and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) were skeptical of President Donald Trump’s nominee Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The two senators had concerns about how Rao would vote when it comes to abortion, an issue that Hawley had openly addressed. After a private meeting with Rao, Hawley voted in favor of her nomination.

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