Think Progress Melts Down Over The Weekly Standard’s Kavanaugh Fact-Check

Virginia Kruta | Associate Editor

Progressive news website ThinkProgress found itself on the receiving end of a Facebook fact-check, which a number of ThinkProgress writers took issue with because it originated with a more conservative publisher, The Weekly Standard.

The article that was fact-checked, written by Ian Millhiser (who also penned a piece in his own defense in response), was titled “Brett Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade last week and almost no one noticed.”

Millhiser wrote that several of Judge Kavanaugh’s statements, when taken together, indicated that he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade: “Judge Kavanaugh will be the fifth vote to kill Roe if he joins the nation’s highest Court.” What he failed to include was any one instance in which Kavanaugh actually said that he would do so.

The fact-check, published by The Weekly Standard, focused on Millhiser’s headline — which stated that Kavanaugh “said he would kill Roe” — and the body of his piece, which connected a few dots but ultimately failed to deliver any evidence that Kavanaugh said any such thing.

“… This is not to suggest how the candidate might vote in the hypothetical court case, but simply to clarify that Kavanaugh has not said he would vote to ‘kill’ the court’s decision regarding Roe v. Wade.”

In addition, during his confirmation hearings, Judge Kavanaugh pressed one point over and over again: that his opinions were written based on precedent and the Constitution, not the personal feelings of anyone involved — himself included.

When questioned by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Kavanaugh referred to a woman’s right to choose abortion as “precedent on precedent,” citing both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. 

He said that Roe was “an important precedent to the Supreme Court. It’s been reaffirmed many times. It was reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 when the court specifically considered whether to reaffirm it or whether to overturn it. … That makes Casey precedent on precedent.”

In addition to not saying that he would ever vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, Kavanaugh has come close to flat out stating that he wouldn’t. During his confirmation hearings in 2006, when he was appointed to serve as a judge on the DC Circuit, the question was raised — and Kavanaugh’s response was unequivocal.

“If confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully,” he said. “That would be binding precedent of the Court. It’s been decided by the Supreme Court.”

The Weekly Standard’s fact check also covered a similar article, published by MoveOn.org, that claimed Kavanaugh “has stated he’d overturn #Roe.”

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