Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused “several” Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices of lying to the Senate about their views of Roe v. Wade.
The top congressional Democrats issued the sharply worded statement castigating members of the high court after Politico published a shocking leaked draft opinion showing it is poised to overrule the landmark 1973 abortion rights ruling.
“The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history,” Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement.
“Several of these conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the American people, have lied to the U.S. Senate, ripped up the Constitution and defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court’s reputation,” the two Democrats added.
Conservative justices ― including Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch ― described Roe v. Wade as settled law in their confirmation hearings and suggested they would respect precedent. They never explicitly committed to preserving Roe.
Kavanaugh personally assured Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in a private meeting that he would hesitate to overturn longstanding decisions like Roe.
“When I asked him whether it would be sufficient to overturn a long-established precedent if five current justices believed it was wrongly decided, he emphatically said no,” Collins said in 2018 before voting to confirm Kavanaugh.
While Republicans criticized the leak of the draft opinion, which is unprecedented in modern history, Democrats expressed outrage at the Supreme Court’s preliminary decision to gut abortion rights and again called on the Senate to eliminate the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade into law.
“The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump,” Schumer and Pelosi said. “Every Republican Senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump Justices pretending that this day would never come will now have to explain themselves to the American people.”