Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh once questioned whether Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights ruling, was “settled law of the land” during his time in the George W. Bush administration, The New York Times reported Thursday.
According to a trove of documents, deemed “committee confidential” and not released to the public, which were shared with the Times on Wednesday evening, Kavanaugh made the comment in a March 2003 email when he was working as a White House lawyer. The email was part of grouping of records given to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week ahead of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.
Kavanaugh was editing a document that was written by supporters of a conservative judge nominee, and these supporters hoped that anti-abortion women would sign off on the opinion piece, per the New York Times. The document suggested that “legal scholars across the board” accept that “Roe v. Wade and its progeny are the settled law of the land.”
Kavanaugh pushed back on that assumption and suggested the sentence be deleted.
“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,” he wrote, according to the Times.
The refusal to release documents relevant to Kavanaugh’s record within the Bush administration has been Democrats’ main frustration throughout Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. The White House has cited executive privilege in order to withhold at least 100,000 pages of documents. A former Bush lawyer shared about 40,000 pages of documents with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday evening, just hours before the confirmation hearing was set to begin, pushing Democrats to ask for a postponement in order to vet the records.