Asked by a conservative talk-radio host whether U.S. Senators have private discussions with U.S Supreme Court nominees about cases like Roe v. Wade, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said Thursday they “absolutely occur,” but Gardner dodged a follow-up question about whether he’d discussed Roe with Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s high court nominee.
Gardner also said on air that he was told by a staffer that Gorsuch had written on Roe, the landmark pro-choice ruling. But no such writing appears to exist.
Gardner’s comments raise questions about whether Gorsuch will reveal writings about Roe.
“Did you have that conversation with Judge Gorsuch, ‘Hey, what’s your view of Roe v. Wade?'” asked KNUS 710-AM talk-show host Dan Caplis, when Gardner was on his show Thursday (at 6 min below).
“We had conversations about precedents of the Court,” replied Gardner, dodging the question. “And this is something I’m sure that there will be more attention to paid in the days coming.”
Gardner told Caplis he met with Gorsuch for an hour Wednesday and that a staffer at the meeting told Gardner that Gorsuch had written on Roe v. Wade.
“I think he’s written on it, that that decision is precedent already,” said Gardner on air. “I’d have to get the case. I can’t remember the name of the case that he brought before me. That was brought up by one of the staff that were in the meeting about a case where he has written in regard to Roe v. Wade.
“Does [Gorsuch] consider Roe v. Wade to be settled law, which at this point is not subject to being overturned?” Caplis asked Gardner.
Again, Gardner dodged the question saying, “You know, I’d have to look at the opinion, because I think he’s written [one], and I don’t want to put words in his mouth, when he’s already written on it. So it would probably be best, Dan, if we both read into it a little bit, read the opinion, and see what it said.”
But it does not appear that Gorsuch has written an opinion on Roe v. Wade. ThinkProgress reported Jan. 31:
…while Gorsuch has never ruled directly on the viability of Roe v. Wade, he wrote a 2009 book, entitled The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, that is heavy with the kind of political rhetoric opponents of abortion deploy in the battle over reproductive choice. “Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable,” Gorsuch wrote in his book, adding that “the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
As Ed Whelan, a former law clerk to Justice Scalia who writes frequently on the courts puts it, “Gee, might that principle have any application to abortion?“
Gardner was unreachable for comment or to answer the question of why he’d been apparently misinformed on Gorsuch’s past opinions on Roe. Phone calls to his DC office were received with, “I’m sorry, extension 5941 is on the phone.” Recently, Gardner accused “paid protesters” of flooding his phone lines with calls.
Some abortion rights advocates argue that Gorsuch’s view on Roe is less important than his opinions on other legal matters relating to access to abortion.
Though a complete overturn of Roe v. Wade is possible, a conservative court may be more likely to weaken Roe than reverse it completely, according to some analyses published this week.
In an opinion piece yesterday, Jennifer Dalven, of the Reproductive Freedom Project, offered four questions she believes are equally or more important than questions about Roe, including: “Does Gorsuch believe that the government can constitutionally impose laws like mandatory ultrasound and fetal burial requirements for no purpose other than to shame and stigmatize women?” And. “Does Gorsuch believe that the government can constitutionally block women from seeking any care, including birth control and cancer screenings, at Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood also provides abortions?”