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We examined the records of the 11 judges Donald Trump said he'd consider for the High Court.
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Analysis: Where Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominees stand on life and marriage

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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has released the list of judges he says he will consider for Supreme Court vacancies. In an effort to scrutinize their records, we researched their public statements on the issues of life, family, and religious liberty. While the following list is not an exhaustive account of their positions, it gives a representative view of how they may rule if named to the highest court in the land.

  • Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Judge Pryor once called Roe v. Wade "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history." He told NARAL, “Abortion is murder, and Roe v. Wade is an abominable decision.” He ruled in favor of EWTN's lawsuit against the HHS mandate and said that local governments could pass zoning ordinances regulating pornographic establishments. He also opposed attempts to turn back traditional values. In 2003, as attorney general of Alabama, Pryor filed an amicus brief with the Supreme court in Lawrence v. Texas, saying the High Court “has never recognized a fundamental right to engage in sexual activity outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage, let alone to engage in homosexual sodomy.” Indeed, “A constitutional right that protects 'the choice of one's partner' and 'whether and how to connect sexually' must logically extend to activities like prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.” In 2004, he broke a 6-6 tie on the appeals court and let stand a lower court ruling that barred Florida homosexual couples from adopting children. In 2003, when he was nominated to the circuit court, his Catholic faith became an issue in his confirmation hearings. Judge Pryor's involvement with current Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore still stirs controversy. Initially supportive of the “Ten Commandments judge,” Pryor later helped turn Moore out of office.

  • Judge Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. In 2013, she ruled that for-profit corporations may be exempted from the HHS mandate's contraceptive provision. She ruled that Christian organizations may require their members and officers to uphold their beliefs, including their opposition to homosexuality. However, she struck down an Indiana law completely defunding Planned Parenthood, saying that the law allows women to choose any qualified health care provider. She also sentenced pro-life protesters to 60 days in jail for blocking an abortion facility entrance, although she attested to their “fine character.”

  • Judge Raymond W. Gruender of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. He wrote a 27-page opinion upholding a South Dakota law requiring abortionists to tell mothers that abortion is linked to higher rates of depression and suicide. In 2012, he wrote, “Various studies found this correlation to hold, even when controlling for the effects of other potential causal factors for suicide, including pre-existing depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, child neuroticism, and low self-esteem.” A 2007 ruling by Judge Gruender held that the Union Pacific Railroad Company had not committed sexual discrimination by not including birth control in its insurance plan.

  • Judge Steven M. Colloton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. Judge Colloton, who worked with Ken Starr during his investigations of the Clinton administration, ruled that the opt-out provision of the HHS mandate violated the plaintiffs' religious beliefs. He and Judge Gruender voted to reinstate Sue Thayer's whistleblower case against Planned Parenthood, as well as as the South Dakota informed consent law regarding suicide.

  • Judge Raymond M. Kethledge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. NARAL emphasized that Judge Kethledge “was the Judiciary Committee counsel for Sen. Spencer Abraham while Sen. Abraham was pushing for the Federal Abortion Ban. He also supported the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito.” He was part of an opinion citing IRS officials' years of resistance to turning over documents about alleged discrimination against conservative organizations.

  • Justice Allison H. Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court. Justice Eid dissented when the Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal to a lower court ruling, in Scott v. Saint John’s Church in the Wilderness, which forbade pro-life activists from “displaying large posters or similar displays depicting gruesome images of mutilated fetuses or dead bodies in a manner reasonably likely to be viewed by children under 12 years of age.” She was once a speechwriter for Reagan Education Secretary William J. Bennett.

  • Judge Thomas M. Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. NARAL reports that Judge Hardiman made a donation to the National Right to Life Committee before George W. Bush named him to the bench.

  • Associate Chief Justice Thomas Lee of the Utah Supreme Court. Justice Lee is the brother of U.S. Senator Mike Lee, a constitutional originalist and pro-life advocate.

  • Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court. The state Supreme Court has been favorable to life and marriage. Justice Willett's pro-life views have been attested by the strong endorsements of Dr. James Dobson, Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute, Jay Sekulow, Foster Friess, and the state's leading pro-life organizations.

Mr. Trump's two other nominees, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, had fewer direct rulings related to life and family.

The Clinton campaign slighted the list, in part over their judicial philosophy. John Podesta, a longtime Clinton aide, said the list contains "no people of color, but does include a judge who upheld a law requiring doctors to use scare tactics to impede reproductive rights and another judge who equated homosexual sex to bestiality, pedophilia and necrophilia."

But some pro-life leaders have called the list of potential Supreme Court nominees “exceptionally strong.”

“They're almost all first-rate,” Bill Bennett said the night it was released. “I'm so heartened by these 11 people.”

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