Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh questioned in a 2003 email whether the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion was “settled law.”

“I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so,” Kavanaugh wrote, while he was a White House lawyer at the George W. Bush administration.

The email, published by the New York Times, was provided by an anonymous source. Kavanaugh, whom President Donald Trump nominated for the Supreme Court, proposed deleting a line from a draft op-ed which stated that “it is widely accepted by legal scholars across the board that Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land.”

The email was part of a batch of “committee confidential” documents given to the Times. The “committee confidential” designation blocks the emails from being released.


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At his questioning on Wednesday, Kavanaugh refused to say whether he believes Roe was correctly decided. But he said the Supreme Court had affirmed it in subsequent cases.

Abortion rights supporters fear — and those opposed to abortion are optimistic — that Kavanaugh could help form a majority to either overturn Roe or approve more restrictions on abortions.

“Brett Kavanaugh’s emails are rock solid evidence that he has been hiding his true beliefs and if he is given a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, he will gut Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, and punish women,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement.

She added, “Now we know exactly why Republicans are hiding his records. Any senator who claims to care about women and our reproductive freedom should need no further evidence to publicly oppose this nomination.”

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