Published: Tue, July 03, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

5 takeaways from a momentous Supreme Court term

5 takeaways from a momentous Supreme Court term

As the 2016 presidential campaign wound down, then-candidate Donald Trump made clear that if elected, he would work to see an end to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision on his watch.

During the Supreme Court term that just ended, Justice Roberts voted with the majority in divided cases more often than any other justice.

Liberals fear that the next justice, who would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, will help overturn Roe v. Wade. The pick could further shift the court to the right and solidify its conservative bent for years or even decades.

July 9, the proposed announcement date, is one day before Trump is scheduled to leave on a trip to Europe.

In an interview with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo that will air Sunday, though, the president said he "probably" wouldn't ask candidates about how they'd vote on the case.

Without Kennedy, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans.

President Donald Trump has hit the ground running, meeting Thursday with key Republican and Democratic senators at the White House in the evening to discuss the vacancy.

Trump has also filled a record-breaking number of seats on the influential federal appeals courts - appointing 21 judges in total - with the enthusiastic backing of the Senate, which votes to confirm them.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday it would be the "height of hypocrisy" to vote before this year's election on Trump's nominee. "We have to pick one that's going to be there for 40 years, 45 years". "We need intellect. We need so many things".

Those victories, coupled with Kennedy's retirement, could embolden the administration's lawyers, who are facing legal challenges on multiple fronts, including over Trump's move to separate families who enter the United States illegally and his plan to rescind protections for "Dreamers", young adults brought to he country illegally as children.

Trump says of the candidates under consideration, "It's a great group of intellectual talent". Mike Lee, who is the one non-judge on the list.

Among them: Leonard Leo, who is on leave from the Federalist Society; John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation; and attorney Don McGahn, now the White House counsel.

"I think the president's list is a very strong list".

In the meantime, aides will conduct background checks to see if there are issues that could derail a potential nominee.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Kennedy's retirement sets up a situation where "women's lives are at risk". Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two moderates whose support of the eventual nominee may be required in a Senate that breaks 51-49 Republican. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will conduct hearings on the nominee. Recent history suggests that, as with the brief government shutdown over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program earlier this year, Senate Democrats might not have the stomach for that brand of politics.

Other women on the list include Joan Larsen, who serves on the federal appeals court in Cincinnati and previously served as a Michigan Supreme Court Justice, and Allison Eid, who serves on the federal appeals court based in Denver and previously served as a Colorado Supreme Court justice.

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