Sept 21 (Reuters) – The lawyer who represented the Mississippi clinic at the heart of the US Supreme Court case that pledged in the overturning of women’s constitutional right to abortion during Senate testimony on Wednesday to follow that ruling despite her past advocacy if she is confirmed to the federal judiciary.
Julie Rikelman, nominated by Democratic President Joe Biden to serve on the Boston-based 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in her confirmation hearing in Washington that she would follow the June ruling despite having fought to preserve abortion rights. read more
“Dobbs is now the law of the land, and I will follow it, as I will follow all Supreme Court precedents,” Rikelman said, referring to the Supreme Court case by its name, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
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Her role in that and other cases made her a target for Republican criticism throughout the hearing, with some of the panel’s most conservative members questioning her support for what Senator Josh Hawley labeled “radical” abortion rights laws.
“You have spent the majority of your professional life as an extreme zealot advocating for abortion,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz told Rikelman. “That is clearly a heartfelt and personal passion of yours.”
Democrats are seeking to highlight Republican opposition to abortion rights ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections in which control of Congress is at stake. The conservative-majority Supreme Court overturned its landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade that had legalized abortion nationwide.
Rikelman represented Mississippi’s only abortion clinic in challenging a Republican-backed law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Several Republican-led states have since moved to ban or restrict abortions, including Mississippi.