Democrats ask Senate to pursue if justices who overturned Roe v. Wade lied to them at confirmation

Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh
Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Photo credit Getty Images

Senate Democrats are being urged to investigate whether conservative Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee during their confirmation hearings.

A letter penned by Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ted Lieu argues that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh "directly lied" to members of the Senate and that they and others on the bench "misled the American people during their confirmation hearings."

Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were two of five conservative justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"We request that the Senate make its position clear on whether Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch lied under oath during their confirmation hearings,” the letter said. "We must call out their actions for what they were before the moment passes, so that we can prevent such a mendacious denigration of our fundamental rights and the rule of law from ever happening again."

In the letter, which was sent to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Ocasio-Cortez and Lieu cite two "particularly egregious" statements made by Gorsuch and Kavanaugh during their confirmation hearings.

Gorsuch in 2017 said, "I would tell you that Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed. A good judge will consider it as precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent like any other." Gorsuch also stated he would have "walked out the door" if former President Donald Trump had asked him to overturn Roe, according to the letter.

Kavanaugh in 2018 said, "It is settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis. The Supreme Court has recognized the right to abortion since the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. It has reaffirmed it many times."

The letter adds: "It is impossible to reconcile the sweeping majority opinion in Dobbs with the statements made by Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh during their confirmation hearings," Ocasio-Cortez and Lieu wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez and Lieu said they respect that individual justices have their own views on various constitutional issues, but they think Gorsuch and Kavanaugh crossed a line.

"We cannot have a system where Justices lie about their views in order to get confirmed. That makes a mockery of the confirmation power, and of the separation of powers," the letter said. "We respectfully request the Senate issue a finding—through a resolution or another kind of public statement—on whether these Justices lied under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee."

The letter also includes statements from Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, both of whom felt misled by Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

"This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon," said Collins.

Manchin said he was "alarmed" the justices "chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans."

Lieu shared the letter on Twitter, writing: "Our Constitutional Republic cannot tolerate Supreme Court Justices who lied in order to get confirmed. The legitimacy of the Court is at stake."

Ocasio-Cortez also shared the letter.

"We cannot allow Supreme Court nominees lying and/or misleading the Senate under oath to go unanswered," she tweeted. "Both GOP & Dem Senators stated SCOTUS justices misled them. This cannot be accepted as precedent. Doing so erodes rule of law, delegitimizes the court, and imperils democracy."

Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have not commented on the letter.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images