President Trump is unlikely to ask his Supreme Court nominee their position on overturning Roe v. Wade, he told Fox News Sunday morning, but said that abortion rights “could very well end up” being determined by the states following Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement.
“But,” he told Maria Bartiromo, “I’m putting conservative people on.”
Trump has explicitly vowed in the past to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that affirmed abortion as a constitutional right, and his nominee following Kennedy’s retirement will determine the majority of the high court for decades to come.
That possibility has left many looking to two pro-choice Republican senators, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). In another Sunday morning interview, Collins said she would not support a Trump nominee who she believed would support overturning Roe v. Wade.
“It has been established as a constitutional right for 45 years and was reaffirmed 26 years ago,” Collins told ABC. “So a nominee’s position on whether or not they respect precedent will tell me a lot about whether they would overturn Roe v. Wade.”
She went on, saying, “A candidate for this important position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have, and that would indicate to me a failure to respect precedent, a fundamental tenant of our judicial system.”
Collins also said Sunday that she has urged the president to expand his list of potential nominees, as there are a number of people on the list she believes do not respect judicial precedent. The current list also has zero known pro-choice Republicans.
Trump said Sunday he believes his nominee, which he has said he will announce July 9, will be confirmed quickly.
The president is considering his high court pick from a list curated with extensive input from right wing think tanks, which, it would stand to reason, would have been sure to exclude pro-choice candidates.
Kennedy’s retirement last week has also sparked debate about the upcoming midterms and whether the vacant seat will help boost Republican turnout. Trump also spoke about the increasing number of Democrats who have called for abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), something Trump said he considers also considers beneficial for Republicans headed into the midterms.
“Well, I hope they keep thinking about it,” Trump said of Democrats like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who have called for ICE’s abolition.
“They’re going to get beaten so badly,” Trump said. “You know ICE, these are the guys that go in and take MS-13, and they take them out. Because they’re much tougher than MS-13, like by a factor of 10… You get rid of ICE, you’re going to have a country that you’re going to be afraid to walk out of your house.”
Trump also spoke about recent comments made by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) calling for people to harass Trump officials in public and said that between those comments and the increasing number of Democrats calling to abolish ICE, he thinks Democrats will “never win another election.”
“So I’m actually quite happy about it,” he said.