Gillibrand: Pro-Life People Are Ineligible to Be Judges

'I think you are so backward-looking,' she said.

June 14, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate and senator Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) said Thursday that individuals who are pro-life should not be judges.

"These are personal decisions. They are health care decisions. They are economic decisions. They are moral decisions. A woman has a right to make all those decisions," Gillibrand said in an interview on New Hampshire Public Radio. "And if you are telling me today, that women in America don't have that right. I think you are so backward-looking that those judges and justices are not the type of people we should be appointing because it is too backward-looking."

Gillibrand sparked controversy this week when she compared pro-life beliefs to racism and suggested the pro-life viewpoint is "not acceptable" during an interview with the Des Moines Register.

"I think there's some issues that have such moral clarity that we have as a society decided that the other side is not acceptable. Imagine saying that it's okay to appoint a judge who's racist or anti-Semitic or homophobic. Asking someone to appoint someone who takes away basic human rights of any group of people in America—I don't think that those are political issues anymore," Gillibrand said.

Radio host Peter Biello asked Gillibrand about her comparison.

"You've seemed to suggest recently that appointing a judge who opposes abortion rights is akin to supporting judicial nominees who hold racist views. Suggesting that there is no moral other side to the abortion debate. Is that what you believe?" Biello asked.

"So the point I was making is that we believe in settled precedent in this country," Gillibrand responded. "And we have settled precedent to make sure we value everyone and don't discriminate on race, gender or religious backgrounds."

Gillibrand added how it was important for judges and judicial nominees to respect precedent including recent precedent on marriage equality for the LGBT community.

When Biello pressed her on the comparison, Gillibrand stated that her comments had "nothing to do with personal views," and instead was about "settled precedent."

"I don't think it's legitimate to appoint a judge who doesn't believe in women's equality. I don't because it's settled precedent," Gillibrand said.

Despite stressing the importance of upholding legal precedent, Gillibrand has called to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

Gillibrand also appears to want to overturn the Supreme Court's decisions on guns.