Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, said Tuesday during his confirmation hearing that Roe v. Wade, is “a precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” but refused to further elaborate on whether he would vote to uphold the precedent as a Supreme Court justice.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked Gorsuch if Roe v. Wade was decided correctly.
“I would tell you that Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” Gorsuch replied, adding that the decision “has been reaffirmed” by other cases.
“A good judge will consider it as precedent of the United States Supreme Court, worthy as treatment of precedent, like any other,” Gorsuch replied.
He also said that he does not believe judges should make “campaign promises” in order to be confirmed.
“I don’t believe in litmus tests for judges,” Gorsuch said. “I think that’s the beginning of the end of the independent judiciary if judges have to make effectively campaign promises at confirmation.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, also asked Gorsuch about Roe v. Wade, asking him if the case established a “super precedent.”
The doctrine of stare decisis is one in which courts adhere to previous rulings in their decisions. The concept of “super stare decisis” or a “super precedent” holds that some cases may not be overturned.
Gorsuch reiterated that he sees Roe v. Wade as precedent.
“It has been reaffirmed many times,” Gorsuch said. “I can say that.”
Although Gorsuch has never ruled directly on abortion, pro-life groups have largely supported his confirmation while pro-choice groups have opposed it.