President Trump Wants A Supreme Court That Will Overturn Roe v. Wade – That’s Why The Far-Right Federalist Society Wrote His List of Potential High Court Picks.

July 5, 2018



Then-Candidate Donald Trump:

WALLACE: But what I'm asking you, sir, is, do you want to see the court overturn — you just said you want to see the court protect the Second Amendment. Do you want to see the court overturn Roe v. Wade?

TRUMP: Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justice on, that's really what's going to be — that will happen. And that'll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination. [Trump-Clinton Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, 10/19/16]


Then-Candidate Donald Trump:

O'REILLY: All right. So, let me just get this straight. So that Diane's question is answered. Your specific thing to protect the sanctity of life would be appointing a Supreme Court justice that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Do I have it?

TRUMP: Well, they will be pro-life and we will see what about overturning. But we will appoint — I will appoint judges that will be pro-life, yes. [Fox News, 5/10/16]


Then-Candidate Donald Trump:

BRODY:  “But beyond judges, do you believe Roe V. Wade was wrongly decided back in the day, back in 1973?”

TRUMP: ‘Well I do. It’s been very strongly decided but it can be changed. Things are put there and they’re passed but they can be unpassed with time but it’s going to take time because you have a lot of judges to go.” [CBN, 2/18/16]


Then-Candidate Donald Trump:

MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman.

TRUMP: Yeah, there has to be some form. [MSNBC, 3/30/16]


Then-Candidate Donald Trump:

TAPPER: Pro-life.
So, how important is that issue to you now? When President Trump picks Supreme Court justices, would that be a litmus test? 
TRUMP: It is. It is. [CNN State of the Union, 


President-Elect Donald Trump:

STAHL: During the campaign, you said that you would appoint justices who were against abortion rights. Will you appoint— are you looking to appoint a justice who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade?

TRUMP: So look, here`s what`s going to happen: I`m going to— I`m pro-life. The judges will be pro-life. They`ll be very—

STAHL: But what about overturning this law—

TRUMP: Well, there are a couple of things. They`ll be pro-life, they`ll be— in terms of the whole gun situation, we know the Second Amendment and everybody`s talking about the Second Amendment and they`re trying to dice it up and change it, they`re going to be very pro- Second Amendment. But having to do with abortion— if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states.

STAHL: But then—

TRUMP: So it would go back to the states and—

STAHL: —some women won`t be able to get an abortion?

TRUMP: No, it`ll go back to the states.

STAHL: By state—no some—

TRUMP: Yeah. Well, they`ll perhaps have to go— they`ll have to go to another state.

STAHL: And that`s okay?

TRUMP: Well, we`ll see what happens. It`s got a long way to go, just so you understand. That has a long, long way to go. [CBS 60 Minutes, 11/14/16]




Ed Whelan, Ethics and Public Policy Center: “No one has been more dedicated to the enterprise of building a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade than the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo (who also sits on the board of the think tank I head, the Ethics and Public Policy Center).” [National Review, 12/9/16]


Politico: “During the campaign, Trump largely outsourced the creation of his initial list of potential justices to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, meaning all came with a stamp of conservative pre-approval.” [Politico, 1/30/17]


Leonard Leo, Federalist Society: “As you can see, in answering your question about how someone might vote to overturn Roe v. Wade but view Obergefell as settled, I pointed out how Roe (as modified by Planned Parenthood v. Casey) continues to generate lots of ‘abortion-related issues’ for the Court. In other words, even after all these years Roe hasn’t settled things in a way that Obergefell might seem to have done. [National Review, 12/9/16]


Leonard Leo, Federalist Society: “When pressed on whether he [Roberts] would treat Roe as binding precedent, he also did the right thing by declining to fall into that backdoor question about Roe. On the question of binding precedent, Roberts correctly noted that there are times when you reverse precedent and accept a jolt in the legal system, as with Brown v Board’s reversal of Plessy and the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Lochner ‘liberty of contract’ cases.” [National Review, 9/13/05]


Leonard Leo, Federalist Society: “As a leader of the bar, Harriet Miers was a fearless and very strong proponent of conservative legal views. She led a campaign to have the American Bar Association end its practice of supporting abortion-on-demand and taxpayer-funded abortions.” [AP, 10/3/05]


Washington Post: “The conservative Leo took comfort in Roberts's answers. ‘Schumer pressed him very hard on accepting the word 'general' in the context of right to privacy, and he refused to do so,’ Leo said. ‘That says something very meaningful about the way in which he thinks about the right to privacy.’” [Washington Post, 9/17/05]


Washington Post: “Were these not hints that Roberts, if confirmed as chief justice, would be loath to revisit Roe? Not at all, said Leonard Leo, on leave from the conservative Federalist Society to promote the confirmation effort. ‘What he said about privacy is, in substance, no different from what other recent nominees have said, . . . Justice Clarence Thomas in particular,’ Leo said in an interview. And Roberts's discussion of stare decisis , he said, ‘was almost as though you were having a glimpse into the way a judge would sit in his chambers and do the analysis: . . . Maybe there are times when a jolt in the legal system is acceptable.’” [Washington Post, 9/17/05]