Gillibrand Vows to Only Nominate Judges Who Support Roe

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) speaks after announcing that she is forming an exploratory committee for the 2020 presidential race, in Sioux City, Iowa, January 18, 2019. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)

Campaigning for president Tuesday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand promised to only nominate judges who will uphold Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court precedent that established a constitutional right to abortion.

“I’m announcing that as president, I will only nominate judges — including Supreme Court justices — who will commit to upholding Roe v. Wade as settled law and protect women’s reproductive rights,” Gillibrand wrote in an article explaining her decision.

The New York Democrat admitted that her move is unconventional but said it was prompted by what she called an “onslaught of Republican anti-abortion state legislation” in the past year. In particular, she cited the six-week abortion bans some Republican-led state legislatures, including Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, and Mississippi, have passed.

“As a candidate, Donald Trump said he would punish women for accessing abortion, and as president, he’s made good on that promise by stacking the Supreme Court with anti-choice extremists Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch,” she wrote. “Republicans nationwide push these bills because they want a court ruling that guts abortion access nationwide, forever. We simply cannot let that happen.”

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President Trump’s two Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, lean ideologically conservative, although neither has said whether he would vote to overturn Roe should it come before the court again.

Gillibrand is currently languishing near the bottom of the 2020 Democratic presidential field in most national polls, well below her competitors for the Democratic nomination. Former vice president Joe Biden leads the pack with 39 percent support in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, followed by Senator Bernie Sanders at 15.5 percent.

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