Two supreme court justices have said that Roe v. Wade and its impact in Texas will probably be tested at the court’s next term, Stephen Miller told a crowd of conservatives in Nashua on Monday night.
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Speaking at the Nashua Young Republicans annual fall dinner, Miller, the counsellor to the president and senior advisor to the president, noted that questions around the constitutionality of abortion rights have been raised before.
“What we’ve seen in the last four years is that the supreme court is clearly ready for the opportunity to decide this. They are ready to do what they have to do,” he said, according to The Nashua Telegraph. “Justices Breyer and Kennedy, in the past, have made the case for the court to go the direction they have. We saw that in Whole Woman’s Health,” Miller continued, referring to the controversial 2016 Texas regulation for abortion clinics that challenged Roe.
Mitt Romney remembered his time as Governor of Massachusetts, when he signed an abortion bill in 2010. Photograph: Eric Thayer/AP
His comments come as efforts to overturn Roe v Wade gather momentum and after Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the court. Some conservatives have called for a total ban on abortion, arguing that the 1973 ruling protecting a woman’s right to choose should be “slightly updated”.
It has been particularly controversial since President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh, who worked as a lawyer in the White House during Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings.
Protesters picket outside of Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
This week Trump even went as far as to announce his intentions to add six new judges to the supreme court, adding that: “We’re going to make an announcement in a little while where we’re going to do that.”
Obama’s former solicitor general Don Verrilli, in a recent speech to judges and legal professionals, said he did not expect that court to have changed much by the time Roe v Wade was set to be reviewed.
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He also said that Roe was vulnerable in part because of the law behind Texas’s regulations: “You know the kind of state legislation that states have been passed to try to change the fundamental rules of how these facilities operate?” Verrilli said. “Well, Roe v Wade was that law.”
Trump’s actions to single out abortion rights has also put the rights of women in the spotlight. Protesters gathered outside of Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing earlier this week, and dozens of women paraded past in pink outfits and white bonnets carrying an image of a fetus. Some held umbrellas that read “get ready to die”.
Trump has said he does not think “the spirit” of Roe v Wade is intact and has promised to appoint “pro-life justices” to the supreme court to “restore the sanctity of life”. Earlier this year, he tweeted to people attending the March for Life on 1 January: “We will never forget.”
We will never forget: Women are showing up and filling the streets in Washington, D.C. in support of Roe v Wade and protections for women’s health. pic.twitter.com/NaXnQBOU81 — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2018
During his speech on Monday, Miller said the US was in a “tough spot” and promised to “wait until the end of the rainbow” to see whether or not Roe v Wade was “part two” in Texas.
Miller has previously said that Trump has “consistently defied” these expectations.