President Donald Trump has said it was “certainly possible” that his choice to the Supreme Court was involved in a decision revisiting the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States.
Mr Trump said he did not discuss abortion rights with Amy Coney Barrett before choosing her for the highest court.
But Ms. Coney Barrett was “certainly conservative in her views,” he said.
She was chosen to replace the late Liberal Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg but is awaiting confirmation from the Senate.
Democrats and women’s rights advocates fear that Justice Barrett, a socially conservative jurist, could play a decisive role in any ruling overturning the 1973 judgment to legalize abortion, known as Roe v Wade.
If Justice Barrett’s appointment is upheld, conservative-leaning judges will hold a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court, shifting its ideological balance for decades to come.
Mr Trump said he was unsure how the judge would vote on the matter if his appointment was approved.
“Most of the time I’m looking for someone who can interpret the constitution as it is written. She’s very strong about it, ”Mr. Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends on Sunday.
Mr Trump on Saturday announced the appointment of Judge Barrett to the country’s highest court in the White House, describing the 48-year-old as a “stellar scholar” with “an unwavering loyalty to the constitution.”
The court’s nine judges are appointed for life, and their decisions can shape U.S. public policy on everything from guns and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance.
Judge Barrett is the third judge appointed by the current Republican President, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
The issue of abortion took center stage during Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Messrs. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.
Since then, a number of conservative states have passed new abortion restrictions that could lead to court challenges in the Supreme Court.
What is Roe v Wade and why is it important?
Roe v Wade was the 1973 case that led to the legalization of abortions in the United States.
By a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court justices ruled that governments did not have the power to ban abortions.
The court’s judgment was based on the ruling that a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy was within the scope of personal choice in family matters, as protected by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The decision came after a 25-year-old unmarried woman, Norma McCorvey under the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” challenged criminal abortion laws in Texas that prohibited abortion as unconstitutional, except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.
Henry Wade was the Texas Attorney General who championed anti-abortion laws.
The decision – of January 22, 1973 – remains one of the most controversial ever made by the Supreme Court.
In the decades that followed, states passed laws limiting abortion rights, sparking legal challenges and heated political debates at national and state levels.
In contrast, more liberal American states have decided to implement their own laws to guarantee the right to abortion for their residents.
President Trump has previously expressed support for restricting access to abortion, but his perspective has changed over time.
What did Trump say about Roe v Wade?
In Sunday’s interview with Fox & Friends, Mr Trump was asked if he wanted to see Roe v Wade challenged and overturned if Judge Barrett’s appointment was upheld.
“I didn’t think it was up to me to discuss this with her because it’s something she’s going to vote on,” Mr. Trump said. “But if you look at her past actions and decisions, I think she may be in the category you mentioned, I don’t know.
When asked if a Supreme Court with a Conservative 6-3 majority could rule on a “matter of life”, Mr Trump replied, “It is certainly possible.”
He added: “Maybe they would do it in a different way. Maybe they would give it back to the States. You just don’t know what’s going to happen. “
Who is Amy Coney Barrett?
After graduating from the Faculty of Law at Notre Dame University in Indiana, she served as a clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2017, she was appointed by Mr. Trump to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
She is described as a devout Catholic who, according to a 2013 magazine article, said that “life begins with conception.” This makes her a favorite among religious conservatives keen to topple Roe v Wade.
- Who is Trump’s choice on the Supreme Court?
LGBT groups have criticized her membership in a conservative Catholic group, People of Praise, whose school network has guidelines stating that sex should only take place between heterosexual married couples.
Justice Barrett has spoken in favor of President Trump’s sweeping immigration policies and voiced views in favor of extended gun rights.
The Senate – the upper house of the US Congress – will vote to confirm or reject Judge Barrett’s appointment.
Republicans hold a slim majority, but they already appear to have the 51 votes needed to secure Judge Barrett’s confirmation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to hold a confirmation vote ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Barring surprise, Democrats appear to have few procedural options to prevent him from slipping through the Senate to the Supreme Court bench.