Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado’s statement on the nomination of conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court, Donald Trump’s second such pick after Republicans (including Gardner) prevented a vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016 setting in motion an ideological shift on the court that will be felt for decades to come:
“I look forward to meeting soon with Judge Kavanaugh,” said Senator Gardner. “Over the coming weeks I will review his judicial record while also ensuring that Judge Kavanaugh will approach each case on its merits and follow the law as it is written. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will thoughtfully and thoroughly review this individual during the confirmation process and carefully consider him rather than making a knee-jerk decision based on politics and nothing else.”
There’s little need for Gardner to hold on to the pretense of being undecided on Kavanaugh, since Gardner’s support along with all but a handful of Republican Senators is a foregone conclusion. Democrats are preparing to put up a major fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination, but at this point the administration and Republicans backing Kavanaugh have the upper hand and the smart money suggests Kavanaugh will be confirmed.
Although Kavanaugh has not publicly declared his intention to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision upholding abortion rights, his record and political affiliations strongly indicate that he will do so if given the opportunity–in keeping with Trump’s campaign-trail vows to appoint justices who would overturn Roe. Court cases intended as direct challenges to Roe are already moving, and the solid conservative majority Kavanaugh provides supplies the means.
As of now, it’s very likely that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, and abortion swiftly recriminalized in many states. In Colorado, where voters have soundly rejected abortion bans in repeated statewide votes, we expect this will energize pro-choice voters–and result in further political losses for Colorado Republicans along with reaffirmed abortion rights protections in Colorado law.
Kavanaugh’s nomination and the expected rightward shift of the Supreme Court is also a short-term realization of Sen. Cory Gardner’s long-sought political goals, but with long-term peril that could jeopardize his re-election in 2020. Gardner won his election in 2014 largely by convincing a pro-choice Colorado electorate that abortion wasn’t an issue that mattered. As the Denver Post’s editorial board said in 2014, “contrary to [Mark] Udall’s tedious refrain, Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.” Republicans saddled the derisive nickname “Mark Uterus” on Udall in mockery of his insistence that Gardner would endanger abortion rights–and local reporters were happy to join in the mocking, content in Gardner’s assurances that the issue was being overblown and abortion rights were safe no matter what Gardner did.
Today, anyone who says that is a fool. And anyone who said it in 2014 owes every woman in Colorado an apology.
As for Cory Gardner, 2020 is going to be very different than 2014.
Because the game will be up.