Minutes after Neil Gorsuch seemed to dash the hopes of conservatives by declaring Roe v. Wade as established “precedent,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham warned President Donald Trump’s nominee that an abortion case would nonetheless come his way on the Supreme Court.
During a Senate confirmation hearing, Graham asked what Gorsuch would have done had Trump asked him to overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade case, that ensured abortion access nationwide.
“Senator, I would have walked out the door,” Gorsuch replied. “It's not what judges do. They don't do it at that end of Pennsylvania Ave. and shouldn't do it at this end either, respectfully.”
Graham’s supports legislation that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, with some exceptions. (The bill in the House is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Graham introduced a Senate version in the last Congress.) Graham, during the hearing, repeatedly said he wanted out of the “club” of nations that allow what he called “wholesale, on-demand abortion at 20 weeks.”
And the senator predicted that if this legislation becomes law, the concept of the medical viability of a fetus would come to the Supreme Court and force Gorsuch to make a difficult decision.
“You don't have to say a word,” Graham told Gorsuch. “I'm just letting everybody know that if is this legislation passes, it will be challenged before you and you will have to look at a new theory of how the state can protect the unborn.”
Graham then asked Gorsuch if he would make his ultimate decision based on facts.
“Senator, I can promise you no more than that and I guarantee you no less than that in every single case that comes before me,” Gorsuch said.
In the beginning of Graham's interrogation, he asked Gorsuch if he would hold Trump accountable for criminal actions. Gorsuch said he would, adding that “no man is above the law.”
Graham, one of Trump’s most consistent, vocal critics in the Republican Party, said he was ultimately pleased with the president’s Supreme Court pick and encouraged Democrats to get on board.
“President Trump could not have done better in choosing you and I hope people on the other side will understand that, you may not like him – I certainly didn't agree with President Obama but I understood why he picked (Sonia) Sotomayor and (Elena) Kagan – and I hope you can understand why President Trump picked Neil Gorsuch and hope you will be happy with that because I am.”