The LuLac Edition #3340, November 6th, 2016
(This is the final edition of our 7 part series on the major issues in this Presidential election and where the candidates stand. The information is directly from each candidate’s website. The order of appearance will vary from week to week because we will use a coin toss to determine what candidate’s views will appear first).
Today we will be looking at how each candidate will approach appointments to the Supreme Court if elected. Trump’s information comes from “The Economist”, Clinton’s from "CNBC".
In recent years, Donald Trump has shown willingness to defend opposing views on nearly every big issue in American politics. He once supported women’s reproductive rights, including so-called partial-birth abortion, yet now savages Roe v Wade as having created a “culture of death”; women who terminate their pregnancies, he said in March (before backtracking), should face “some form of punishment”. Mr Trump identifies nuclear proliferation as a grave threat to global security; he also thinks it would be a good idea for more countries, including Japan and South Korea, to have nuclear weapons. The untold complexity of Mr Trump’s positions extends to matters from gun control and the war in Afghanistan to interrogation techniques and his pet issue, immigration.
The uncertainty about what Mr Trump really believes about the big issues of the day has made conservatives a bit nauseous, particularly when it comes to the Supreme Court. With Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat empty, and GOP leaders in the Senate promising to let Barack Obama’s successor fill the void, Republicans have openly fretted about who Mr Trump might choose for the job should he win the White House. Some conservatives are now urging the Senate to confirm Merrick Garland, the centrist chief judge of the District of Columbia federal appeals court who Mr Obama tapped in February. Mr Garland may not be their first choice, the reasoning goes, but he’s a much safer bet than anybody a President Clinton or Trump might put forward.
Mr Trump has stoked conservatives’ fears by casually mentioning that he might choose his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a senior judge on the third circuit court of appeals who has ruled in favour of abortion rights. But in March, the ascendant Republican presidential candidate promised to release a list of reliably right-wing, anti-Roe judges he might put forward to replace Justice Scalia, and this week, he produced it. Though he said in March that he would not deviate from the forthcoming list, by May 18th his language had evolved: the list would serve as a “guide”, he said, to his deliberations over whom to choose. The list of 11 possible picks seems to have mollified many, including Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who chairs the Senate judiciary committee and has served as the primary job-blocker for Merrick Garland. Mr Grassley said in late April that awaiting a nomination from Mr Trump is admittedly “a gamble”, but after reading over the “impressive” list of 11, he apparently now sees a Trump nominee as a safe bet.
Everybody on the list is a sitting judge: six serve on federal circuit courts; five have seats on state supreme courts. There are few household names on the roster, but no huge surprises. All of the federal judges were appointed by George W. Bush and are credibly right-wing. Raymond Gruender, a judge on the eighth circuit court of appeals since 2004, has consistently voted to uphold laws restricting abortion. In 2011, he authored a 7-4 decision permitting South Carolina to warn women intending to end their pregnancies of a purportedly higher risk of suicide stemming from that decision. In her seat on Colorado Supreme Court, Alison Eid, who once clerked for Clarence Thomas (Mr Trump’s model justice), has shot down gun control laws and advocated for enhanced states’ rights—a position in line with several of Mr Trump’s proposals, including a decentralised approach to the minimum wage.
Clinton said she wanted justices who would defend women's rights, back LGBT rights, support Roe v. Wade and reverse the Citizens United decision and its ability to funnel dark money into elections. Clinton said she wanted a court to "stand on the side of the people" rather than wealthy donors and corporations, though Clinton's own political career has benefited from some rich backers.
In the final presidential debate in Las Vegas, she also called on the Senate to vote on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Obama nominated him in March.
"I would hope the Senate would do its job and confirm the nominee that President Obama has sent them," she said.
Trump said his court would prioritize the right to bear arms and said he would appoint judges who would reverse Roe v. Wade, the decision that protects a woman's right to abortion.