Story highlights

Trump repeatedly campaigned on tapping a Supreme Court judge who would be anti-abortion

Roe v. Wade legally allows women in the United States to receive abortions under the US Constitution

Washington CNN  — 

Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch said at his confirmation hearing Tuesday that he would “have walked out the door” had President Donald Trump asked him to overturn the ruling of Roe v. Wade.

Facing questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gorsuch was asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, if Trump ever asked him to overturn Roe v. Wade in his interview with the President.

After a brief pause, with all eyes on him, Gorsuch responded forcefully,

“No … I would have walked out the door,” Gorsuch said. “That’s not what judges do.”

Roe v. Wade, ruled on in 1973, affirms a woman’s right in the United States to have an abortion under the US Constitution.

Trump repeatedly campaigned on tapping a Supreme Court judge who would be anti-abortion rights, and had continued this narrative into his presidency.

In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Trump told CBS News’ Leslie Stahl that he would appoint “pro-life” justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade and send the issue back to the states.

During Trump’s first week in office, he signed an executive action reversing policy that allowed funding to international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortion.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said Gorsuch would have to explain his position on Roe v. Wade more-so than other nominees because of Trump’s statements on nominating judges who are opposed to abortion.

“If you fail to be explicit and forthcoming and definite in your responses, we have to assume that you will pass the Trump litmus test,” Blumenthal said.

Gorsuch also defended the value of precedent when asked about the controversial abortion law.

“Part of the value of precedent – and it has lots of value, it has value in and of itself, because it is our history and our history has value intrinsically. But it also has an instrumental value in this sense: it adds to the determinacy of law,” the judge said.

“Once a case is settled, that adds to the determinacy of the law,” Gorsuch added. “What was once a hotly contested issue is no longer a hotly contested issue. We move forward.”