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Sanders refuses to say if Trump wants Roe v. Wade overturned

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.

Posted: Jul 3, 2018 4:50 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2018 5:10 PM

Roe v. Wade, the landmark opinion that legalized abortion, has always had one very unlikely critic: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In appearances over the years she has said that the opinion -- decided before she reached the bench -- went too far too fast.

Instead of sticking with the extreme Texas law at issue in the case, the Supreme Court issued a sweeping opinion in 1973 that called into question statutes in every state.

Ginsburg, who before taking the bench dedicated her career to gender equality, wrote in a 1985 law review article that the "sweep and detail" of the opinion would stimulate "the mobilization of a right-to-life movement."

She got that right.

Now, some 45 years later, the opinion will undoubtedly play a central role in the hearings for President Donald Trump's second Supreme Court nominee. The President himself triggered the debate by promising the "judges will be pro-life" in a 2016 interview on CBS.

As he interviews potential candidates behind closed doors, the debate over the landmark opinion rages on.

Liberals are trying to peel off the votes of Republican senators who support abortion rights. They are demanding that senators look past a nominee's vague statements about the respect for court precedent.

Conservatives, on the other hand, particularly those who oppose abortion rights, want reassurances from the White House that they are getting the best pick possible. And they have only days until the rollout next Monday to make sure.

As things stand, two top candidates are Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, according to sources familiar. Shortlists change, however. Neil Gorsuch was not the immediate favorite last time around. An initial front-runner was William H. Pryor Jr., a judge on the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals. But Pryor had called Roe an "abomination" and declined to back away from the statement at his confirmation hearing. He ultimately never got an audience with the President.

Last weekend, Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who's a supporter of abortion rights, told CNN's Jake Tapper that she would not "support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law."

Under Collins' rules, Pryor would be a no go.

But liberals say senators should not disregard a nominee's record just because they've expressed an appreciation for court precedent.

"Hostility to Roe cannot be the standard," said Chris Kang of the liberal group Demand Justice. He noted that "very few judges who would overturn Roe" would publicly "come right out and say that."

"Instead, they vote to uphold every anti-abortion law they can and leave breadcrumbs in their writings about precedent," he said.

Kang points to concerns with Barrett's scholarship concerning precedent.

"The question remains whether overruling precedent affects the Court's actual legitimacy," Barrett wrote for the Texas Law Review in 2013.

"Does the Court act lawlessly -- or at least questionably -- when it overrules precedent? I tend to agree with those who say that a justice's duty is to the Constitution and that it is thus more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it," Barrett wrote.

Kang fears that is a signal that Barrett would strike Roe.

In another article, however, written for Notre Dame Magazine in 2013, Barrett, then a professor at the school, said she believed it "very unlikely" that the court would ever overturn Roe.

As liberals are devastated by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, conservatives are delighted.

Critics of abortion rights have remained largely silent on the President's potential pick. Catherine Glenn Foster, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life, issued a statement on Monday calling a choice between Kavanaugh and Barrett a "good problem" since both, she said, "are committed constitutionalists."

But a source who opposes abortion rights who was willing to speak only on background said Barrett should be the top pick. The source said concerns had been expressed privately with the White House about a case Kavanaugh recently decided concerning an undocumented teen in US custody who sought an abortion. Ultimately, Kavanaugh's court voted in favor of the teen and he dissented. But some said his dissent should have gone further.

That confuses his supporters, including one who said on background that Kavanaugh's dissent was vigorous and had adopted all of the Trump administration's arguments that had been presented in the case.

"In any other circumstance the opinion would have been hailed as a solid and comprehensive opinion, and the only reason that is not happening here is because people are trying to find any daylight they can to criticize his record," the source said.

"It's not there," the source added.

As for the President, he has said he won't ask a nominee for his or her views on the subject.

"As the President said last week, he's not going to talk to judges about specific cases, he's looking for individuals that have the right intellect, the right temperament and will uphold the Constitution," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1560117

Reported Deaths: 20796
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2118112563
Lake1021301523
Allen964791027
Hamilton75541551
St. Joseph66476761
Elkhart51045634
Vanderburgh50511531
Tippecanoe45721338
Johnson39600527
Hendricks37933463
Porter35132476
Madison30330547
Clark27296331
Vigo26401347
Monroe24100249
LaPorte23921313
Howard23237381
Delaware22453370
Hancock19314220
Bartholomew18980216
Kosciusko18400204
Warrick17733216
Wayne16982303
Floyd16686257
Grant15966300
Morgan15091232
Boone13924138
Dearborn12235113
Shelby12225152
Noble12170142
Henry12027202
Dubois11696152
Marshall11625171
Jackson11111104
Cass10578143
Lawrence10529221
Huntington10523140
DeKalb10482132
Gibson10114127
Montgomery9671144
Harrison9471117
Knox9415125
Whitley902571
Steuben8934105
Putnam8542100
Miami8533135
Clinton849397
Jasper8462116
Jefferson8319127
Wabash8027140
Ripley7504117
Scott685787
Adams6829103
Daviess6825130
White638184
Greene6317112
Clay628975
Decatur6261121
Jennings619781
Wells6090121
Fayette6054122
Posey580148
LaGrange549097
Randolph5364129
Washington528071
Owen5211100
Fountain493681
Spencer467456
Sullivan462066
Fulton450993
Orange449784
Starke448887
Rush433941
Jay432564
Perry409155
Carroll394749
Franklin394650
Vermillion370762
Pike334246
Parke331239
Tipton330475
Blackford282255
Pulaski281775
Brown239856
Newton239761
Benton228921
Crawford224932
Switzerland207914
Martin196722
Warren183922
Union178119
Ohio129216
Unassigned0763

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2515949

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2719422100
Cuyahoga2606673087
Hamilton1758091756
Montgomery1177451651
Summit1089011418
Lucas935321193
Butler83907963
Stark771001431
Lorain64214809
Warren53428489
Mahoning51224930
Lake47591611
Clermont46928452
Delaware41107220
Trumbull39746790
Licking38790416
Medina38646427
Fairfield35828349
Greene34313435
Portage32429366
Clark32361453
Richland29653444
Wood29379301
Allen25875403
Miami24243408
Muskingum23564255
Columbiana23046409
Wayne22093365
Tuscarawas19637428
Marion18616235
Erie18608224
Ashtabula18569362
Scioto18159214
Ross17594260
Pickaway16419181
Hancock16115232
Geauga15511229
Lawrence15094186
Belmont14236248
Union1419584
Huron13908184
Jefferson13656261
Sandusky13268200
Athens12877107
Knox12160201
Seneca12055204
Darke11440202
Ashland11248184
Washington11152172
Auglaize10873147
Crawford10432178
Shelby10402160
Brown10094145
Highland9746151
Fulton9726154
Guernsey9683122
Defiance9567137
Logan9470147
Clinton9428132
Mercer9099112
Madison9032111
Preble8524170
Williams8305138
Putnam8069136
Champaign8040113
Ottawa7971123
Jackson7848121
Perry7514102
Coshocton7411136
Morrow729184
Fayette715992
Pike666689
Hardin6564133
Gallia638891
Adams6227127
Van Wert6065121
Henry602596
Hocking5918105
Wyandot503594
Carroll5009101
Holmes4880167
Paulding426465
Meigs400974
Monroe316468
Harrison299162
Noble296952
Morgan292748
Vinton258646
Unassigned08
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