Donald Trump says a lot of things. We’ve become all too used to that now. Some of these things should probably be taken with a grain of salt — “Only Rosie O’Donnell” comes to mind — but some deserve to be analyzed more closely.
Here’s an example. Remember Trump’s discussion about Supreme Court Justices back in August with Bloomberg Politics? Mark Halperin asked Trump, “Is there someone out there today who isn’t on the [Supreme Court], but say, this is the kind of person I would consider for the court? How about your sister? Think she’d be a good Supreme Court Justice?”
Trump responded, “Well, I don’t want to mention names, I think it’s inappropriate to mention names, certainly at this stage so early when we have a long way to go. Oh, my sister’s great. I have a sister who’s on the Court of Appeals and she’s fantastic. I think she would be phenomenal. I think she would be one of the best. But frankly, uh, I think she — we’ll have to rule that out now, at least temporarily. But I do have a sister who’s very smart and a very good person.”
Trump has generally been coy about Supreme Court justices, avoiding specifics and certainly not giving any insight into his personal litmus test or whether he even has one.He has praised Justice Clarence Thomas as “strong and consistent,” while calling Chief Justice John Roberts “disgraceful.” He recently criticized Justice Antonin Scalia for his comments opposing affirmative action during a Supreme Court hearing.
But outside vague statements of support or opposition, he has said very little about case law. Would he appoint justices that would overturn Roe v. Wade? Does he believe the Obergefell v. Hodges case’s radical finding of a constitutional right to gay marriage was based on sound jurisprudence? What about Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, or NFIB v. Sebelius?
Honestly, we have no idea.
Frank Cannon is president of the American Principles Project.