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Trump: I'm told I shouldn't ask my SCOTUS nominee about Roe v. Wade

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said he probably won’t ask potential Supreme Court candidates about their opinions on abortion before nominating Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s replacement.

In a program that aired Sunday morning, Fox News journalist Maria Bartiromo asked Trump if he would ask his nominees beforehand how they might vote on Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision affirming that the constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.

Trump responded that he’s been advised not to ask such specific questions and that he plans to appoint another conservative justice like Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed to replace Antonin Scalia.

“Well, that’s a big one and probably not. They’re all saying, ‘Don’t do that. You don’t do that. You shouldn’t do that.’ But I’m putting conservative people on and I’m very proud of Neil Gorsuch. He’s been outstanding. His opinions are you know so well written, so brilliant. And I’m going to try and do something like that but I don’t think I’m going to be so specific in the questions I’ll be asking. And I’m actually told I shouldn’t be,” Trump said on “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo.”

Bartiromo reminded Trump that during his 2016 presidential campaign he said the issue of abortion should be left to the states.

“Maybe someday it will be to the states. You never know how that’s going to turn out. That’s a very complex question. [Roe v. Wade] is probably the one that people are talking about in terms of having an effect. But we’ll see what happens. But it could very well end up with states at some point.”

Kennedy’s retirement on Thursday elicited fear from liberals and hope from conservatives. Trump’s replacement is expected to shift the court’s ideological balance to the right, which could shape the country’s judicial future for generations to come. Republicans currently control the Senate, which can confirm Trump’s nominee with a simple majority, but this could change with the midterm elections.

Bartiromo asked Trump if he thinks his nominee will be in place before the midterm elections.

President Trump, center, speaks during a lunch meeting with Republican lawmakers at White House, June 26, 2018. (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I think it’s going to go very quickly. I think we’re going to have a lot of support. I think we’re going to have support from Democrats, frankly, I think if it’s the right person. I’m going to pick the right person. I’m going to pick somebody that’s outstanding. And everybody on that list is outstanding, but I’m going to pick somebody who’s outstanding. And I think yes, I think we’re going to go very quickly.”

Despite this optimism, Trump said the path toward confirmation will probably be “vicious” because all the liberals can do is “obstruct and resist.”

“You know, their whole thing is resist. And maybe someday we’ll be able to get along with the other side. I don’t know. But right now it’s only resist. That’s all they want to do is stop things from happening, so they’re going to try very hard.”

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility toward Roe v. Wade because that would mean his or her judicial philosophy didn’t have respect for established decisions, which she considers a “fundamental tenet of our judicial system.”

When asked if it’s fair to expect that any of Trump’s nominees would vote to overthrow Roe v. Wade, Collins said that Trump assured her he would not ask that question of his nominees.

“Well, the president told me in our meeting that he would not ask that question. And that is what he has most recently said, on the advice of his attorney. So, I think what he said as the candidate may not have been informed by the legal advice that he now has, that it would be inappropriate for him to ask a nominee how he or she would rule on a specific issue.”

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