by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Ronald Reagan nominated the Supreme Court justice who upheld Roe v. Wade. President Trump could nominate the justice who overturns it.
That’s how unpredictable the politics of the Supreme Court can be. Reagan, the most conservative president since the New Deal, arguably did more than any other single political figure to make the Republican Party pro-life. President Trump, widely assumed to be a liberal Trojan horse during the 2016 GOP primaries, was until recently pro-choice.
Justice Anthony Kennedy also illustrates that unpredictability. He was the Reagan pick who wrote the majority opinion affirming Roe’s core holding. His retirement Wednesday opened the door for Trump to assemble the most conservative Supreme Court in history.
What is predictable is that both parties will keep escalating their war over the composition of the Supreme Court, guaranteeing the confirmation hearings for whomever Trump nominates will be contentious.
Democrats are already saying that because Republicans — led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland during an election year, then hearings on Kennedy’s successor will have to wait until after the midterm elections this fall.