Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes, “WASHINGTON — Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s views on abortion took center stage in the Senate on Tuesday after he assured a key Republican senator that he believed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision was “settled law” — a comment that Democrats and abortion rights advocates derided as a meaningless dodge.
Emerging from a more than two-hour “courtesy visit” with Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Senator Susan Collins of Maine said they had discussed abortion cases “at length,” and that he told her he agreed with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who told senators during his 2005 confirmation hearings that he regarded Roe as “settled law.” Ms. Collins later said she was heartened by the statement.
Ms. Collins and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are two Republican backers of abortion rights, and both say they are undecided on Judge Kavanaugh. Their votes are critical to his confirmation. The term “settled law” refers to a precedent that is entitled to respect and does not necessarily indicate that precedent cannot be limited or overturned.”