Breaking News

Center for Reproductive Rights

New York—Today, President Obama announced that he will nominate U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights issued this statement in response:

“The Center for Reproductive Rights looks forward to learning more about Solicitor General Kagan’s opinions on important constitutional principles and cases, particularly the right to privacy and Roe v. Wade.  We applaud her groundbreaking career history as the first female dean of Harvard Law School and first woman to serve as U.S. Solicitor General.  However, her public record reveals very little about her judicial philosophy or her views on the constitutional protections in Roe.

“A woman’s constitutional right to abortion is under constant threat. And while Roe has remained the law of the land for the past thirty-seven years, it has been a precarious existence.  In the past three decades, the constitutional protections for abortion rights have been deliberately weakened by a multitude of restrictions that drive abortion providers out of practice, invade women’s privacy and endanger women’s health.  This year alone, the anti-choice movement has become particularly aggressive pushing some of the most radical legislation in recent history, including measures that attack Roe head-on.  And the Center has filed six lawsuits against anti-abortion laws this year—more than any time since the 1990s.

“The last Supreme Court decision on abortion was 5 to 4 and further diluted constitutional protections for abortion. As such, it is absolutely critical that the Senate Judiciary Committee conduct a rigorous confirmation process and thoroughly explore Ms. Kagan’s views on the constitutional protection that should be afforded to women seeking abortions.   Failure to pursue such questions creates dangerous uncertainty regarding a constitutional right that has already been significantly weakened.

“As Ms. Kagan wrote herself in a 1995 University of Chicago Law Review article, ‘When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public.’”