Friday, 21 September, 2018


Local expert speaks about Trump's Supreme Court pick

President Trump arrives at a rally in Great Falls Mont. on Thursday MoreCloseclosemorePresident Trump arrives at a rally in Great Falls Mont. on Thursday
Bennie Garza | 09 July, 2018, 22:55

"I've never seen a president of the United States, in effect, make himself a puppet of outside groups and choose from a group of right-wing fringe ideologues that are prepared on this list", Blumenthal said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. Hardiman is one of four judges thought to be President Donald Trump's top contenders to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

And it's significant because his choice is expected to swing the court towards the right.

Kethledge, 51, is a University of Michigan Law School graduate and former Kennedy law clerk who works out of an office he set up in an old barn overlooking Lake Huron in northern Michigan. But they, too, are facing pressure to back Trump's second high court pick.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the Senate will be able to confirm Barrett, Hardiman, Kavanaugh, or Kethledge, but said picking a candidate who can be confirmed quickly is important. He added: "I think they'd be fine justices of the Supreme Court". Leo pointed out that in the 36 years after the decision, only one justice on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, has explicitly said that e would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Trump a year ago appointed Neil Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices, after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

The nominee's record will come under particular scrutiny for clues as to how he or she might vote in any future review of Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed women's right to abortion.

Hardiman, 53, has served on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2007, having been appointed by Republican former President George W. Bush, after four years as a U.S. district judge in western Pennsylvania.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said some Democrats could defect from the party.

A fellow judge there, Maryanne Trump Barry, one of the president's sisters, reportedly has recommended him to her brother.

The president and White House officials involved in the process have fielded calls and messages and have been on the receiving end of public pleas and op-eds for or against specific candidates since Kennedy announced on June 27 that he would retire this summer.

Barrett, who is 46, has less of a judicial record to review, having just been nominated to the appeals court by Trump past year.

Attorney Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, who is advising Trump on the process, said Blumenthal's remarks were "insulting and offensive". "I do think the president has to think about who is the easiest to get confirmed here and I expect we'll do that on sort of a normal timetable of a couple of months". Barrett was appointed by Trump to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previous year.

The bottom line: Judge Barrett has given every indication that she will be an activist judge on the Court. They cite a recent case involving a pregnant teenaged immigrant in federal custody.

Last week I was told Trump had essentially narrowed the list down to two: Kavanaugh and 6th Circuit Judge Raymond Kethledge.

And on Friday, in his weekly address, Trump made clear he was looking for a justice who adopts an "originalist" interpretation of the constitution.

Democrats say McConnell is being hypocritical in moving forward with the nomination.

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