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Trump Hints at Return to a Pre-Roe v. Wade World

Will President Donald Trump come right out and ask prospective Supreme Court nominees if they would undo Roe v. Wade. the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion?

By William Goldschlag and Dan Janison

Will President Donald Trump come right out and ask prospective Supreme Court nominees if they would undo Roe v. Wade. the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion?

"Probably not," he told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. They were all saying, 'Don't do that . . . you shouldn't do that." Trump said. "I don't think I'll be so specific on the questions I'll be asking."

He doesn't have to. The list Trump is working from was developed with advice from conservative legal groups opposed to Roe. As a candidate, he said, "I am pro-life and I will be appointing pro-life judges."

Back then, and in the latest interview, Trump tipped the result he anticipated from a Supreme Court recast to his liking -- that the legality of abortion "could very well end up with states at some point." That was the situation before Roe v. Wade.

Trump also made it clear that he wanted a successor to retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy to shift the court's balance to the right. "Justice Kennedy ended up being a little more neutral than a lot of people would have preferred," he said.


Choice words

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, whose vote could be crucial for confirming Trump's pick, said she would oppose any nominee "who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade."

"Such views, Collins said, would mean "that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law," Collins said.

Republicans have a 51-49 Senate majority, but one of them -- Sen. John McCain of Arizona -- has been long absent while battling cancer. Defections by Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who also supports abortion rights, could imperil a nominee if Trump doesn't pry loose a few red-state Democrats.

ABC News reported that three White House officials who had been thinking about leaving soon may hang in longer to see the confirmation process through. They are counsel Don McGahn, legislative affairs director Marc Short and domestic policy director Andrew Bremberg.

(c)2018 Newsday

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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