In what seems like a bizarre position, President Donald Trump said he would not ask his Supreme Court nominee for an opinion about Roe v. Wade. In the infamous case, the Court ruled that abortion was a fundamental right that could not be taken away by statute.
Considering that Republicans have vowed to overturn Roe ever since its ruling, Trump sidestepping the issue might seem odd. But it’s a smart move on Trump’s part.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that Trump’s nominee would be sworn in before November ballots are cast.
However, Democrats are poised to delay hearings on any Trump nominee until after the midterm elections. They would never confirm a nominee who intended to overturn Roe.
Two Republican senators have also sided with Democrats on the abortion issue. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she would not support a nominee who does not support the Roe ruling, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has also long supported a pro-abortion stance.
By not asking his nominee about the Roe case, Trump could guarantee there would be no tangible reason for Democrats (and the two Republican senators from Maine and Alaska) to refuse to confirm his nominee. Despite this, Trump has said on the campaign trail that he would only nominate pro-life candidates to the Supreme Court.
On Friday, Trump said he will announce his nominee on July 9. He has narrowed his shortlist of nominees to five people, including two women. It will be an especially interesting confirmation process if the nominee ends up being a woman whose stance on Roe v. Wade is not known for certain.