- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 1, 2018

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin on Sunday accused President Trump of seeking a Supreme Court pick who will overturn Roe v. Wade and Obamacare in what has become a rallying cry for Democrats trying to defeat the still-unnamed nominee.

“The president is looking for someone who will overturn Roe versus Wade,” said Mr. Durbin, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide, on “Fox News Sunday.”

“But even equally important, he’s looking for someone on the court who will make sure that they rule that the Affordable Care Act’s protection of those with preexisting conditions is unconstitutional,” Mr. Durbin continued.

Disputing Mr. Durbin’s contention was Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society and a key White House advisor on judicial nominations.

“None of the people who are being talked about now in the public space in the media are people who have a clear position on Roe v. Wade,” Mr. Leo said. “The most important thing here is a record showing fairness, someone who listens very carefully to arguments on both sides, someone who tries to keep an open mind.”

Mr. Trump has said he will name on July 9 his selection to fill the vacancy being left by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his pending retirement last week.

Mr. Leo pointed out that Democrats inevitably accuse the GOP’s high-court nominees of seeking to overturn Roe—the same thing was said about Mr. Kennedy as well as former Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter—and yet it’s never happened.

“No president is particularly good at speculating about these things, and nobody is,” Mr. Leo said.

He said the only justice who has made it clear that he would “explicitly overturn Roe” was Justice Clarence Thomas, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991.

“I don’t think at the end of the day, it’s about Roe v. Wade,” Mr. Leo said. “It’s about having judges on the court who are going to interpret the Constitution the way it’s written, and part of interpreting the Constitution is taking into account major precedents, and that’s going to happen.”

Mr. Durbin said that while Americans are divided on abortion, they’re united on health coverage for those with preexisting conditions.

“When it comes to basic health care for American families, protecting those who have preexisting conditions, this administration is attacking that on constitutional grounds and at this moment Donald Trump is looking for a justice who’s going to rule in his favor,” Mr. Durbin said.

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