CNN’s Bash Harangues Pence on Whether He’s ‘Worried’ Kavanaugh Won’t Overturn Roe v. Wade

Vice President Mike Pence went on a media tour Tuesday to promote Judge Brett Kavanaugh as President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Needless to say, his CNN stop went as well as you’d expect. 

On The Situation Room, chief political correspondent Dana Bash grilled Pence about whether he and the President would be upset if Kavanaugh didn’t overturn Roe v. Wade (thus making abortion illegal in one way or another).

 

 

While the interview covered other topics like illegal immigration, NATO, and Russia, Bash began the SCOTUS section by asking about fears that Kavanaugh was a “disappointment from some anti-establishment Trump supporters” since the D.C. Court of Appeals Judge grew up and lives in the area.

From there, however, abortion was the chief focus with Bash asking: “In 2006, Brett Kavanaugh testified that Roe vs. Wade is settled law. You campaigned extensively on the notion that Roe versus Wade should be consigned to the ash heap of history. Are you worried he won't follow what you want to do?”

Pence emphasized that he’s unapologetically pro-life and the bigger concern for Trump was finding “a nominee who will respect the Constitution as written, who will faithfully uphold the Constitution in all of his interpretations of the law.” 

Bash interrupted and a brief back-and-forth ensued (click “expand” to see the full bit):

BASH: Do you want Roe versus Wade to be overturned? 

PENCE: I do, but I haven't been nominated to the Supreme Court. Judge —

BASH: Right, but you're part of the administration —

PENCE: — Kavanaugh has. 

BASH: — that campaigned, you and the President —

PENCE: That’s right.

BASH: — campaigned — 

PENCE: That’s right.

BASH: — saying you will find nominees to overturn Roe versus Wade. Will you be disappointed if he is given that opportunity and he will you be disappointed? 

PENCE: Well, as I said, I stand for the sanctity of life. This administration, this President are pro-life but, you know, what the American people ought to know is that as the President said today this is not an issue that he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh. I didn't discuss it with him either. What we really focused on was the character, the background, the credentials and the judicial philosophy.

During that exchange, the fine people writing CNN’s pathetically smug chyrons okayed this doozy: “Breaking News; Pence Skirts Question on Whether Trump’s High Court Pick Brett Kavanaugh Would Vote to Overturn Roe V. Wade.”

Cute. Thankfully, NewsBusters won’t hold its collective breath waiting for snarky chyrons about statements from Democratic Senators Cory Booker (NJ) and Kamala Harris (CA).

The back and forth continued with Bash stating that the Trump/Pence ticket “campaigned so aggressively on finding a nominee who would overturn Roe vs. Wade” and if Kavanaugh will be the person who will fulfill a campaign promise. 

In other words, this was a trap interview and, as expected with someone like the Vice President, he didn’t take the bait.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on July 10, click “expand.”

CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
July 10, 2018
5:22 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Pence Defends Trump’s Supreme Court Pick in New CNN Interview] 

DANA BASH: And I started our interview by asking the Vice President for his response to some disappointment from some anti-establishment Trump supporters that Brett Kavanaugh is another Ivy League nominee and he is also the ultimate Washington insider. 

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: My response is that President Trump set out to keep his word to the American people that he would nominate once again a justice to the Supreme Court who would faithfully interpret the Constitution as written and when you look at the extraordinary body of work, more than 300 opinions of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, you can see the kind of principled jurist who fits right in the model of a — Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Antonin Scalia and I think people who share the President's vision for the Court come to see this good man and see that strong record that they'll come to the same confusion. 

BASH: In 2006, Brett Kavanaugh testified that Roe versus Wade is settled law. You campaigned extensively on the notion that Roe vs. Wade should be consigned to the ash heap of history. Are you worried he won't follow what you want to do? 

PENCE: Well, Dana, as you know, I'm pro-life. I don't apologize for it and I'm proud to be part of an administration that advanced pro-life policies but what I can assure you is that what the President was looking for here was a nominee who will respect the Constitution as written, who will faithfully uphold the Constitution in all of his interpretations of the law and that was the focus —

BASH: Do you want Roe versus Wade to be overturned? 

PENCE: I do, but I haven't been nominated to the Supreme Court. Judge —

BASH: Right, but you're part of the administration —

PENCE: — Kavanaugh has. 

BASH: — that campaigned, you and the President —

PENCE: That’s right.

BASH: — campaigned — 

PENCE: That’s right.

BASH: — saying you will find nominees to overturn Roe versus Wade. Will you be disappointed if he is given that opportunity and he will you be disappointed? 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Pence Skirts Question on Whether Trump’s High Court Pick Brett Kavanaugh Would Vote to Overturn Roe V. Wade]

PENCE: Well, as I said, I stand for the sanctity of life. This administration, this President are pro-life but, you know, what the American people ought to know is that as the President said today this is not an issue that he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh. I didn't discuss it with him either. What we really focused on was the character, the background, the credentials and the judicial philosophy.

BASH: But, again, you campaigned so aggressively on finding a nominee who would overturn Roe versus Wade. Do you feel confident, can you assure the people that voted for you on that notion that this is the man who will do that? 

PENCE: Well, what I can assure people that voted for us is that this will continue to be a pro-life administration. From early in this administration, President Trump has taken decisive steps to advance pro-life values at home and frankly in foreign aid around the world but what I can also assure people is the President believes that the proper consideration for a nominee to the Court is not about litmus tests and frankly, we have seen an enough of litmus tests over the decades. What we don't want is to have people go to the courts with a specific objective or policy criteria. We want people to go that respect the Constitution, respect the Constitution as written, will not legislate from the bench. 

BASH: Right. 

PENCE: And President Trump and I are absolutely convinced —

BASH: Well, the President did say that —

PENCE: — that Judge Kavanaugh is exactly the kind of jurist that the American people in the majority want to see on the Court. 

BASH: The President did say that he wanted a litmus test. But let's move on to something else going on and that's at the southern border. 

NB Daily Appointments Judiciary Kavanaugh Nomination Conservatives & Republicans Pro-lifers Sexuality Abortion CNN The Situation Room Video Government & Press Dana Bash Mike Pence Brett Kavanaugh
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