While the promise of conservative judicial nominations played a significant role in President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, recent events at the Supreme Court are making the issue even more pivotal this time around, according to Politico.
Specifically, conservatives were dealt a serious blow when the Republican-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s liberal wing to strike down a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, as NPR noted.
That ruling came in the wake of a decision in which Roberts helped torpedo the Trump administration’s attempt at ending the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
What’s more, Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion in a case that redefined the meaning of “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in a case heralded as a landmark victory by LGBTQ activists.
Reliable conservatives wanted
All of these developments have left the president’s base frustrated, and Politico reported on Monday that some Republicans want potentially unreliable jurists stripped from a list of possible future nominees that Trump promised to release as campaign season ramps up.
“There are few new judges who are very good and could be added to the list, but the main thing that needs to happen is to cut the list way down by removing anyone who has not been proven to be a rock-ribbed conservative,” an unnamed Republican source with ties to the White House was quoted as saying.
“The whole purpose of the list is to give hardline conservatives a guarantee that we will not be betrayed again. If the president wants to keep social conservatives, he needs to put out a much shorter list of the people who would actually receive real consideration for a vacancy in the next year,” the source added.
The individual stressed the need to see a record of solidly conservative decisions, stating, “A long list of 20 promising but unproven judges just isn’t good enough.”
Shortening the list
Among those said to be favored by Trump supporters is 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Widely praised among conservatives, Barrett is well-known for a testy exchange on abortion with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who at one point during Barrett’s confirmation hearing for the federal bench remarked, “The [Catholic] dogma lives loudly with in you, and that’s a concern.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) has been among those discussing Supreme Court appointments in recent days, pledging that he will only vote to confirm a nominee who commits to overturning Roe v. Wade.
“I want to see on the record, as part of their record, that they have acknowledged in some forum that Roe v. Wade, as a legal matter, is wrongly decided,” he told the Washington Post.
The matter could come to a head sooner rather than later, as 87-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced earlier this month that she is undergoing treatment for liver cancer, and while no one wishes the octogenarian jurist ill health, the reality is that a court vacancy — and the partisan bloodbath that would surely ensue — may well be on the immediate horizon.