WASHINGTON Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) said Friday he is concerned that two Supreme Court justices he supported helped the court abolishing the constitutional right to abortion†
Manchin voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh the following year. After joining a ruling that dismantled the historic Roe v. Wade ruling, Manchin suggested the judges may have lied during their hearings.
“I trusted Judge Gorsuch and Judge Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed” Roe v. Wade was a legal precedent and I am alarmed that they have chosen to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans,” Manchin said in a statement.
At his hearing, Gorsuch described Roe as “a US Supreme Court precedent” and said that “a good judge will consider it a US Supreme Court precedent as treating precedent like any other.”
Questioned by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Gorsuch addressed the importance of precedents and said they ensure the stability of the justice system.
“Once a case is settled, it adds to the resolve of the law,” Gorsuch said. “What was once a hotly contested issue is no longer a hotly contested issue.”
However, in Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, the court said Roe and Casey rather than create a national settlement of the abortion issue, have fueled debate and deepened divisions.
A super-majority of American voters have been saying for decades that abortion should be legal in all or some circumstances Gallup Poll† As a result of the court ruling, abortion will soon be illegal in no less than 26 states with limited exceptions.
Kavanaugh, for his part, described Roe during his confirmation hearing†
“One of the most important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years, as you know, and most prominently, most importantly, reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, Kavanaugh said. “I understand the importance of the issue. I understand the importance people place on the Roe v. Wade decision, on the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision.”
As several Democrats noted during the hearings, in 2016 Donald Trump promised to appoint Supreme Court justices to overthrow Roe.
“If we appoint two or maybe three more judges, that’s really what will happen,” Trump said as a candidate during a presidential debate. “I think that will happen automatically, because I put pro-life judges on the court. I will say this. It will go back to the states and the states will then make a decision.”
Nevertheless, Manchin said he was “deeply disappointed” with Roe’s decision.
†It has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years and has been considered an established precedent,” Manchin said. “As a Catholic, I was raised pro-life and will always consider myself pro-life. But I’ve come to accept that my definition of pro-life may not be someone else’s definition of pro-life.”
Manchin added that he would support legislation to codify the abortion right protected by Roe, but he does not support the procedural changes that would make such a bill feasible in the Senate.
More on the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.