Carolyn Kuhl’s Hearing Strengthened the Case Against Her Confirmation

Continuing her anti-choice advocacy

Senators’ concerns: In private practice, Kuhl filed an amicus curiae brief in Rust v. Sullivan on behalf of an anti-choice group in support of the federal “gag rule” that prohibited family clinics getting federal aid from discussion abortion with patients. Although Kuhl’s brief primarily addressed First Amendment issues, she began the brief with a free standing quotation that attacked the Court’s decisions upholding a women’s right to choose abortion as causing a “major distortion in the Court’s constitutional jurisprudence.”5 Referring to this brief, Senator Feinstein asked Kuhl whether it was fair to say that at the time Kuhl wrote it she was “still a critic of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on abortion?” Kuhl Hearing, at 49.

Kuhl’s testimony: Kuhl again deflected efforts by Senator Feinstein to learn her jurisprudential views of the Court’s abortion decisions, stating that her brief in Rust v. Sullivan was written “on behalf of a client” and also that it “primarily addresses the First Amendment issue there. . .” Kuhl Hearing, at 50.

The facts: Kuhl was correct in her overall description of her brief, which makes the free standing quote with which she began the brief all the more indicative of her disagreement with the Court’s decisions protecting a woman’s reproductive freedom. Indeed, Kuhl never actually answered Senator Feinstein’s question or explained why she began a brief about a First Amendment issue with a free standing quote attacking the Court’s abortion decisions.

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