President Donald Trump said Tuesday morning that he has not brought up the issue of abortion with his new Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
“Did you bring up the issue of abortion in your interviews with Brett Kavanaugh?” a reporter asked Trump as he was departing for the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium.
“No, I haven’t. I really haven’t,” Trump replied.
Trump also called Monday night’s prime-time Supreme Court nominee announcement “incredible,” adding, “Brett Kavanaugh got rave reviews, actually from both sides. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.”
Because he was a swing-vote in favor of abortion rights, Kennedy’s departure from the court has sparked alarm among abortion rights activists that Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, could be overturned. In addition, Trump has long vowed to appoint justices who would reverse Roe and allow states to determine whether abortion should be legal.
Democrats and a few key Republicans in the Senate have said that they will not support a Supreme Court nominee who does not view the Roe v. Wade decision as a settled issue.
Kavanaugh has not expressed outright opposition to Roe v. Wade. However, one of his opinions likely to draw scrutiny from senators during his confirmation is his dissent from a ruling of the DC Circuit last October that an undocumented immigrant teen in detention was entitled to seek an abortion.
In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote the Supreme Court has held that “the government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion.” He wrote that the high court has “held that the government may further those interests so long as it does not impose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion.”
CNN’s Clare Foran, Liz Landers and Joan Biskupic contributed to this report