On the July 20 broadcast of his radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly repeated the baseless assertion that if John G. Roberts Jr. were confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, he would “obviously” uphold Roe v. Wade. Since President Bush's nomination of Roberts, numerous media outlets have erroneously cited Roberts's testimony at his D.C. federal appeals court confirmation hearing as proof that he would not vote to overturn Roe if elevated to the Supreme Court. But in testifying that he would uphold Roe as “the settled law of the land” if confirmed, Roberts was merely promising to carry out the duties of an appeals court judge. While appeals court judges are bound to follow the precedent set by Supreme Court rulings, Supreme Court justices are free to reconsider previous rulings and potentially overturn them. Roberts's pledge to uphold Roe as an appeals court judge, therefore, indicates nothing about how he would vote on the constitutional right to abortion if confirmed to the Supreme Court.
From the July 20 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor With Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: OK, one more thing about John Roberts, the proposed new Supreme Court justice, he said, quote, "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent." All right, so he's obviously saying that if he's a Supreme Court justice he's going to uphold Roe v. Wade.