Published: Sun, July 01, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

Evangelical leaders downplay potential Roe v. Wade reversal

Evangelical leaders downplay potential Roe v. Wade reversal

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he plans to announce his nominee to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9, and that he has narrowed his list of candidates. It has emerged that the Trump administration heavily courted Kennedy to retire before the mid-term elections, giving Trump the potential to nominate a justice with a known majority in the Senate. But Trump could move to appoint a much more reliable conservative. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor held the role for 10 years, Justice Byron White for 15, and Kennedy for 18.

White House Counsel Don McGahn will be Trump's lead adviser on the pick, having successfully guided the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch through the selection and confirmation process a year ago, White House sources said.

During his more than three decades on the Supreme Court, the justice would break from his fellow conservatives on the bench and side with the court's liberal justices on social issues, such as legalizing gay marriage and protecting legal abortion.

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"Kennedy is at or near the top on nearly all measures of power or influence", said Lee Epstein, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.

While Kennedy was a conservative, he proved to be a somewhat unpredictable "swing" vote over his long career. The average age of the circuit court nominations he made in his first year was 49, and for district judges, the average age was 51. "And that will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court".

The strategy mirrors one Mr Trump has been pursuing for appointments to the lower courts, where younger than normal judges have often been selected.

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, is the oldest member of the current Supreme Court but has given no public hint of a retirement. Since 1937, no chief justice has also been the median justice. How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Collins wasted no time following Kennedy's announcement to reiterate that she believes Roe v. Wade is "settled law", but a spokeswoman told the Portland Press Herald that Collins "does not apply ideological litmus tests to nominees".

"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 towards Trump.

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