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Did the conservative justices commit perjury? Here’s what they said under oath about Roe v. Wade

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(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

After conservatives consolidated their supermajority on the Supreme Court with Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, many legal experts thought it all but certain that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision protecting a person’s right to an abortion, was doomed to fall. Yet statements made by the trio of justices during their respective confirmation hearings suggested that they would, if confirmed, honor precedent or not reconsider matters thought to be so-called settled law (and Roe is frequently cited as such). 

“I said that it’s settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis, and one of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years,” Kavanaugh said during his 2018 confirmation hearing, responding to a question about whether he thought Roe was settled law. Kavanaugh added to that by saying that Roe “[was] precedent on precedent,” suggesting that the protections it conferred had stood the test of time—and that, as a matter of course, he would vote to uphold it.  

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