Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett said she doesn’t think Griswold v. Connecticut, a landmark Supreme Court case legalizing contraception, is “in danger of going anywhere,” amid concerns that President Trump’s pick for the top court could vote to roll back reproductive rights for women.
Answering questions from Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) during the third day of Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings about whether she would follow in the footsteps of her mentor, late Justice Antonin Scalia, who thought the 1965 case was wrongly decided, Barrett signaled there is no imminent danger.
“I think Griswold is not going anywhere unless you plan to pass a law prohibiting couples, all people, from using birth control,” Barrett said, adding that it’s “unthinkable any legislature would pass such a law.”
However, Barrett, as she has done with all questions she determines as asking her to “prejudge” a case, declined to say whether she thought the court came to the right conclusion.
Coons pointed out that both Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Clarence Thomas said during their confirmation hearings that they agreed with the court’s conclusion in Griswold v. Connecticut.
Due to Barrett’s conservative personal beliefs, particularly her opposition to abortion, her nomination has led to concerns that she will give the court a solid conservative majority that could strike down core legal precedents protecting women’s reproductive rights, like Roe v. Wade. Senate Democrats have pressed Barrett repeatedly on how she would rule on a challenge to Roe, citing fears inspired by President Trump’s prior statement that he would pick a Supreme Court justice ready to overturn the case providing the constitutional right to abortion. Barrett, however, has insisted that her personal beliefs are separate from her role as a judge, and that she will judge cases based on the law.
“Judges can’t just wake up one day and say, ‘I have an agenda, I like guns, I hate guns, I like abortion, I hate abortion,’ and walk in like a royal queen and impose their will on the world,” Barrett told the committee on Tuesday. She has also sought to differentiate herself from late Justice Antonin Scalia, who she has called a mentor, saying: “I have my own mind.”