Barrett says Roe v. Wade is not “super precedent” and not “well settled”
WASHINGTON — Today, Amy Coney Barrett, when pressed by Sen. Klobuchar on whether she considered Roe v. Wade to be “super precedent”—a decision that, in her own words, is “so well settled” that it cannot be overturned— specifically said it was not. Barrett also refused, despite being asked multiple times, to address her 2012 comments that Chief Justice Roberts “pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.” She also signaled she believes the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional—the exact issue before the court on November 10.
By refusing to share her views on some cases but not others — namely Roe and Obergefell (marriage equality) — Amy Coney Barrett made it clear that she is open to these cases being reconsidered and overruled. No matter what she says, our rights are at stake.
Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
“Roe v Wade is supported by 77% of the country. By saying that a 47-year old decision is not ‘well settled’ law, simply because there have been calls for it to be overruled by a dogged and vocal minority, Amy Coney Barrett makes it perfectly clear that her addition to the Supreme Court would put the right to access safe, legal abortion, at risk. If Roe — a decision Barrett has suggested was wrongly decided — is overturned, it would leave 25 million women without access to an essential health care procedure at a time when abortion is already out of reach for many.”
- Barrett is an active and vocal threat to reproductive health and rights and has suggested that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Yet 77% of the country supports the right to safe, legal abortion established by Roe.
Barrett’s hostility toward abortion rights is not in dispute. On the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, she signed a newspaper ad opposing abortion. The ad referred to Roe v. Wade’s legacy as “barbaric,” and demanded a return to legislation that prohibits abortion. The ad was created by a group that opposes in vitro fertilization and believes doctors who perform abortions should be criminalized.
In a public speech, Barrett said that Roe “created through judicial fiat a framework of abortion on demand” that “ignited a national controversy.”
As a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett’s rulings demonstrate that she might be a reliable vote in favor of restricting abortion access. She has voted to rehear cases involving abortion restrictions in which other judges had previously held the abortion restrictions at issue were unconstitutional.
She has written that abortion is “always immoral,” and that women who have abortions are “acting with gross unfairness.”
Barrett publicly criticized the 2012 Supreme Court decision that upheld the law, writing, “Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute.” In 2015, on a critical Supreme Court decision, Barrett agreed with the dissenters (including Justice Scalia) who would have put an end to a core component of the ACA, saying in an interview, "I think the dissent has the better of the legal arguments."
With 17 abortion cases just one step from the Supreme Court, and the court sent to hear a case on the ACA one week after the election, Barrett’s views could have a grave impact on health care access in this country. Access to abortion is hanging by a thread across the country, and for too many people — particularly Black and Brown communities forced to navigate a legacy of systemic racism and discriminatory policies — the promise of Roe is already meaningless because abortion is inaccessible. These cases could dismantle what is left and we know what the consequences would be.
What people are saying about Barrett’s refusal to clearly address her dangerous view on Roe:
Senator Elizabeth Warren: Amy Coney Barrett signed an ad calling Roe v Wade "barbaric" and spoke to anti-abortion groups. Now she won’t say whether Roe was wrongly decided. Don’t be fooled: Barrett has an agenda to get on the Court to overturn reproductive rights.
Andrea Mitchell: .@SenFeinstein challenged #Barrett on abortion recalling how college classmates went to Mexico for illegal abortions. Barrett has written about what she called the “brutality” of abortions but repeatedly said she would let the law not personal views guide her.
Mike Sacks: Barrett: "I have no agenda to try overrule Casey. I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come."
Emmy Bengtson: The SCOTUS nominee with a long, well-documented trail of opposition to abortion, and Roe specifically, is refusing to answer in her confirmation hearing whether Roe was wrongly decided.
David Corn: Amy Coney #barrett says, “I don’t have any agenda.” But she signed at least two ads decrying Roe and calling for overturning it so abortion could be criminalized. That sounds like an agenda.
Sam Stein: ACB does finally give a hint on where she’ll come down on abortion, says she doesn’t think that Roe fits the scholarly definition of super-precedent.
Zac Petkanas: The biggest takeaway from the #SupremeCourt hearing:
Amy Coney Barrett refuses to say she won't overturn Roe v. Wade
This is a five-alarm fire given that she has called the decision a "barbaric legacy"
Roe is in danger
Kyle Griffin: Sen. Feinstein asks Justice Barrett about Roe v. Wade. Barrett refuses to express her views. Feinstein notes that Ginsburg expressed her belief about the constitutionality of abortion rights during her confirmation hearing.
Kyle Griffin: Under questioning from Sen. Klobuchar, Judge Barrett says that Roe v. Wade is not a "super-precedent" that would never be overturned. For reference: Earlier, Barrett said that Brown v. Board of Education is super-precedent.
Mary Ziegler: This is almost verbatim the answer Scalia gave on Roe (no agenda). He called for the overturning of Roe in the first case he was part of thereafter.
[Quote] @AUL: "I have no agenda to overrule Casey. I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and rule on cases as they come." #AmyConeyBarrett
Jill Filipovic: Ok so Barrett will comment specifically on her views on Second Amendment rights, but not abortion rights. This is telling you what you need to know.
Leigh Ann Caldwell: Grassley says that ACB won't scrap the healthcare law because she is a mother of 7 children and cares about access to health care.
It's the OPPOSITE argument ACB and GOP are making about abortion and other issues: her personal opinion won't invade her legal decisions.
Elie Mystal: The Supreme court called Roe a "super precedent". Amy Coney Barrett won't because she wants to overturn Roe.
Laura Bassett @LEBassett: ACB just admitted what we already knew, which is that she doesn't consider Roe super-precedent and wouldn't have a problem overturning it. For those who needed to hear it out of her mouth, congrats
Jonathan Allen @jonallendc: Barrett says Brown is super-precedent.
Klobuchar asks if Roe is a super-precedent.
Barrett asks what she means by super precedent.
Klobuchar says if you will say Brown is super precedent, why won't you say Roe is.
Barrett says super precedent means there are no calls to overturn.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.