WASHINGTON, D.C., July 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump said he is unlikely to specifically ask potential Supreme Court nominees their position on Roe v. Wade, but suggested they will still be likely to return abortion policy to the states.
“I don’t think I’m going to be so specific in the questions…and I’m actually told that I shouldn’t be,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that aired Sunday. Modern Republican judicial nominees tend to stick to a self-imposed rule against answering questions about the validity of past rulings likely to be revisited in the future.
However, the president also stressed, “I’m putting conservative people on,” citing his “outstanding” pick last year of Justice Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Trump is currently interviewing potential nominees to replace pro-gay and sometimes pro-abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement last week. Trump says he will make his choice by July 9, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promises that the Senate will vote to confirm him or her this fall, presumably ahead of November’s already-contentious midterm elections.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump expressly promised that overturning Roe, which legalized abortion on demand in the U.S., “will happen” through his judicial nominees. This would cause abortion policy to “go back to the individual states.” Bartiromo reminded the president of those comments.
“Well, maybe someday it will be to the states, you never know how that’s gonna turn out, that’s a very complex question,” Trump answered. “Roe v. Wade is probably the one that people are talking about in terms of having an effect. But we’ll see what happens, but it very well could end up with states at some point.”
The president also predicted that the confirmation of his eventual pick was “going to go very quickly,” with a “lot of support” including from Democrats if “the right person” is nominated. At the same time, Trump predicted a “vicious” debate over the nominee.
“Because the other side, all they can do is obstruct and resist, the whole thing is ‘resist,’ but – and maybe someday we’ll be able to get along with the other side, I don’t know, but right now it’s only resist,” Trump lamented.
The president has reportedly interviewed four so far, and plans to meet with several more. The predominant speculation is that he will ultimately choose either 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett or District of Columbia Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, though Senator Mike Lee, R-UT, has confirmed that he spoke with Trump about the vacancy. Lee has been floated as a potential justice as well in the conservative press. It’s unknown whether the discussion was about Lee as a potential nominee.
Democrat lawmakers, liberal pundits, and pro-abortion activists are intensely opposing the still-anonymous pick over the potential abortion ramifications. Shortly after Kennedy’s resignation, liberal writer and abortion activist Robin Marty even penned a Huffington Post column titled, What To Do When – Not If – Roe Vanishes.
“It’s time to prepare for life without nationwide legal abortion,” she wrote. “With [Kennedy’s] departure, Roe v. Wade…is critically endangered and careening toward extinction.”
Pro-abortion GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have indicated they won’t approve a pro-life nominee, potentially jeopardizing the vote in the 50-49 Senate. However, one or both votes may potentially be replaced by the support of Sens. Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, and Heidi Heitkamp, three red-state Democrats who voted to confirm Gorsuch and are up for reelection this fall.