Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Donald Trump interviews three more for Supreme Court justice nominee

Collins speaks at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce's Quarterly Business Breakfast in Rockport Maine U.S Sen. Cantwell weighs in on SCOTUS pick
Rosie Leonard | 05 July, 2018, 06:43

A nominee all-in to take away a woman's right to abortion would tell a Senate questioner that he respects all existing case law but that he could not and should not pre-judge during the nomination process any case touching on a woman's right to choose, or anything else, that might make its way through the federal courts to the highest one.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced last week that he would retire, opening up a spot on the bench for Trump to nominate his second conservative justice. His nominee must win Senate confirmation.

The White House also announced Monday that the overall confirmation process would be led by White House counsel Donald McGahn, as it was during the process that led to the successful confirmation previous year of Justice Neil Gorsuch. Lisa Murkowski are viewed as two GOP senators who might oppose Trump's pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

It is remarkable how much opposition (41 percent) there is among Republican voters to the party's long-sought-after goal of removing constitutional protection for abortion. "And we do have a majority of votes in the Senate that think the Affordable Care Act should not be gutted". His contention that presidents should be free from lawsuits and investigations likely pleases Trump but will confound Democrats.

But he's probably best known for helping independent counsel Kenneth Starr during the impeachment probe of President Bill Clinton and his ties to President George W. Bush.

So whether or not Trump appoints another pro-life justice to the Court, Roe v. Wade might remain in place.

Democratic politicians and liberal groups have said they assume that all those on Trump's list of potential candidates would overturn Roe v. Wade, given that Trump has said he will only consider such candidates. Being a woman may box in Democrats. And degrees from Notre Dame, where she taught for two decades, can't hurt.

The fact that Lee is a Senator means that he could, possibly, be voting on his own confirmation as a Justice, if he were to become the nominee.

Of course, there are the fields of abortion and gay rights, where Kennedy's loss and Trump's promises raise fanatical hopes and fears that Roe v. Wade and equality for sexual minorities will be reversed. A finalist for the job previous year, he emerged with Kavanaugh as a leading contender for the next opening. Though major cases on Obamacare and same-sex marriage came through his circuit, he did not serve on the panels considering them. The three most recent retirees from the court - John Paul Stevens, David Souter and Sandra Day O'Connor - each charted somewhat different paths.

Should all Democrats vote against a Trump nominee, Republicans will only be able to afford to lose one vote. He would be the first Indian American on the court, and among few in history to have trial experience on a district court. He is a strong writer. Five of the seven justices who decreed in 1973 that the Constitution gave women the right to have a medical procedure they needed for their physical and mental health were Republican appointees.

Pluses: He was the runner-up to Gorsuch in 2017, giving him instant credibility.

Trump has also spoken with Thomas Hardiman, who has served with Trump's sister on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, according to a person familiar with the conversation who also was not authorized to publicly discuss it.

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