Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

President Trump to Make Choice on SCOTUS Nominee on July 9

President Trump to Make Choice on SCOTUS Nominee on July 9

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said he hoped the confirmation process would be done "in time for the new justice to begin the fall term of the Supreme Court" by the first Monday in October.

One thing is certain as President Donald Trump surveys prospective Supreme Court nominees: Age matters.

"All we are doing is following the long-standing tradition of not fulfilling a nomination in the middle of a presidential year", he said in a March 2016 interview with Fox News Sunday.

Leonard Leo, a Trump adviser on judicial nominations, said liberal groups bring out the abortion issue every time a Republican president gets to make a Supreme Court nomination, including when Ronald Reagan nominated Kennedy in 1987.

Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, allowing Trump - who a year ago appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch - to fill a second seat on the Supreme Court. Trump himself took the unusual step of publicly releasing a list of Supreme Court candidates, most of whom were traditional jurists that many Republicans believed would uphold conservative values.

"I've got it narrowed to about five", he said. Other states, including MS and Louisiana, have banned abortion at 15 weeks' gestation, and others have prohibited specific methods. Among the issues now in the courts are Arkansas' regulation of abortion pills and a Kentucky law that would ban a common procedure for second-trimester abortions.

Maslin said the court opening might even end up helping the Democratic incumbents if voters become anxious that a tilt to the right will endanger abortion rights, gay rights and access to health care.

The Supreme Court job is for life.

She added, "the US Supreme Court does not have the opportunity to review state supreme court decisions concerning state constitutional questions - it doesn't have jurisdiction".

Northup, of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said restrictive laws recently passed by several states could work their way to the Supreme Court.

"You need a senator who doesn't just talk like they're from North Dakota, but votes like they're from North Dakota". They could be emboldened by the prospect of a friendlier court.

By picking a social conservative to replace Kennedy, Trump would have a reliable 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, even on some of those hot-button social issues.

That idea could be tested in Arkansas. "The way he puts it, is someone who is quote, 'not weak, '" Leo said.

"The fact that there's a modest enthusiasm disadvantage isn't all that meaningful because there's already an enthusiasm gap for Republicans", he said, noting Democratic anger toward Trump. Democrats have been trying to argue that the controversial case is the established law of the land and should not be overturned.

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. Louisiana's 15-week law is also on hold pending the outcome of litigation in the MS law. In the court's most recent major abortion ruling, Kennedy was in the majority to strike down regulations on Texas abortion clinics. Still, a more conservative court may be more willing to chip away at abortion rights by upholding state restrictions that Kennedy and the four liberal justices would have been likely to strike down. "No matter how I vote there are going to be people who are furious at me", Collins told POLITICO.

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