‘Is this really working?’: GOP senator says Trump may want to rethink his SCOTUS vetting process

With the Supreme Court continuing to hand down devastating losses for conservatives, one Republican senator is warning that it may be time for President Donald Trump to rethink his process for nominating new justices.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R) told Politico in an interview published Saturday that an overhaul in the judicial selection process may be in order.

“I don’t love the idea of just doing over what we have been doing in the past,” Hawley said, according to Politico. “The idea of issuing a new list, if it’s just going to be the same stuff and the same process, I mean I’m not wild about it,” the senator added.

Trump reportedly plans to release a list of potential SCOTUS candidates ahead of the 2020 election, just as he did in 2016.

“Is this really working?”

According to Politico, however, the Missouri senator suggested that recent decisions by the high court have prompted questions about whether Trump’s current process of selecting nominees is working. In a recent Supreme Court decision providing worker protections for individuals in the LGBTQ community, it was Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch who wrote the majority opinion, according to USA Today.

“When it comes to this whole process, we have to ask ourselves, is this vetting process, is this really working?” Hawley asked in his Politico interview.

The high court also ruled that a Louisiana law regulating abortion clinics was unconstitutional, as NPR noted. That decision came in the wake of another SCOTUS ruling that hit the Trump administration with additional hurdles if it wants to finally bring an end to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, NPR reported separately.

Hawley, for his part, said all that makes clear that it’s time to get what Politico described as “grassroots religious conservatives” involved in the discussions about potential nominees.

“Who actually goes out and votes for judges?” Hawley pressed, according to Politico. “It’s conservative Catholics, conservative Jews, evangelicals, Mormons. That coalition of folks is vitally important to the Republican Party. I think they feel just shocked at what’s going on with the Supreme Court, so I think it’s vital that they be heard from and involved in this process.”

“As much transparency as possible”

President Trump has been similarly critical of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, but he hasn’t indicated that he has any regrets about putting up Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the bench — and for good reason. Leonard Leo, who serves as a co-chairman of The Federalist Society, told Politico that Trump’s approach to picking judges has produced better results than had been seen from his predecessors.

“There is the more secretive and narrow process of judicial selection that brought us David Souter and John Roberts,” Leo told Politico. “And there is the process that President Trump established and created which is to create as much transparency as possible by publishing a list for all conservatives to see and respond to.”

Leo went on: “I seriously doubt that any thoughtful religious conservative would trade the Supreme Court of today, in spite of some significant disappointing decisions, for the Supreme Court of 25, 30, or 40 years ago.”

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