This week Governor Charlie Baker announced the creation of a Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) Nominating Commission to identify candidates to replace the three SJC judges anticipated to retire this year. Just last week Governor Baker reiterated that he would not consider a litmus test, such as abortion, for SJC candidates. In response, Megan Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, issued the following statement:
“NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts is deeply concerned by the lack of a litmus test for candidates for the Supreme Judicial Court. By stating that he does not believe in a litmus test, such as supporting abortion rights, Governor Baker is saying that upholding the state constitution is not a requirement for judges on the Supreme Judicial Court. The Massachusetts state constitution guarantees the right to have an abortion, and protecting that human right must be a litmus test for candidates to the Supreme Judicial Court, especially in light of the aggressive efforts by state legislatures across the country to chip away at women’s basic rights to health care access.
“Just weeks from now, the US Supreme Court will hear Whole Women’s Health v Hellerstedt, the most important abortion case to go before the Supreme Court since Roe v Wade. This case reminds us that women’s fight to access abortion care still depends on the courts. The justices we appoint to the highest court in the Commonwealth will have the power to provide or deny women their basic rights, and Governor Baker must ensure that our state constitution and the rights of Massachusetts’ women are consistently upheld by every justice he appoints.”