Raymond Kethledge's Stance On Abortion Is Murky — Trump's Sure To Consider That For His SCOTUS Pick
Justice Anthony Kennedy's impending retirement has fueled speculation as to whether or not the president would uphold past promises to nominate judges who would seek to overturn a woman's right to abortion. So, where does potential SCOTUS candidate Raymond Kethledge stand on abortion? While the federal appellate judge has not made his stance on the issue 100 percent clear, reproductive rights advocates remain leery.
Because Kethledge has yet to issue rulings on divisive issues like abortion access, it's difficult to say where he might personally, or professionally, stand on abortion. However, according to NBC News, a review of Kethledge's judicial writings has not turned up any evidence of language reproductive rights supporters claim is commonly used by those seeking to severely roll back or overturn a woman's right to an abortion.
What's more, Kethledge has not weighed in publicly about Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that saw women's abortion access protected through a constitutional right to privacy, according to The New York Times. The federal appellate judge has, however, said he would put personal feelings and opinions aside and not strike a ruling down "simply because I don't like it."
"I would make sure that the values that I would be enforcing if I were a judge are not just my values," the Times reported Kethledge said when asked about Supreme Court precedent during a 2008 confirmation hearing.
But the reproductive rights organization NARAL Pro-Choice America has said their research into Kethledge and Trump's other potential SCOTUS candidates "shows that nothing in their past would indicate that they are anything other than a likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion and punish women." NARAL has claimed that Kethledge "is active in the conservative, anti-choice Federalist Society" and "contributed to anti-choice candidates and elected officials including Spencer Abraham, George W. Bush, Joe Knollenberg, and Keith Butler."
Abortion rights advocates at NARAL aren't the only ones with concerns about Kethledge. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently took to Twitter to accuse Kethledge of having "a history of opposing women's reproductive freedom."
"Anti-choice activists have praised his work as Judiciary Committee counsel for Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) when Sen. Abraham was pushing for a federal abortion ban," Schumer tweeted.
Trump campaigned in 2016 on a promise to appoint Supreme Court judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade. "I will be appointing pro-life judges," he said when asked if he wanted to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade during a presidential debate. "If we put another two or perhaps three justices on that's what will happen and that will happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court."
Recently, however, Trump has said he would not ask those he was vetting as potential candidates to spill their personal vies on Roe v. Wade. But reproductive rights advocates and a number of Democratic politicians have said Trump's most recent promise is a moot point as his list of potential SCOTUS candidates was compiled by pro-life conservatives.
"The American people should know that President Trump is only considering names culled from a list of 25 vetted by the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society — organizations whose mission is to reverse Roe v. Wade and shrink government’s involvement in health care respectively," Schumer wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times earlier this week.
Amid reports he'd narrowed his list of potential contenders from 25 to three, Trump teased Saturday that a "big decision will soon be made on our next Justice of the Supreme Court!" Trump, who reportedly spent much of his week interviewing potential candidates to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, had previously announced that he'd name his SCOTUS nominee on Monday.