Senator: Trump is a 'puppet' of right-wing groups on Supreme Court pick


Sen. Richard Blumenthal warns that Trump's list of Supreme Court nominees is made up of 'right-wing fringe ideologues.'

Trump is set to announce his latest Supreme Court nominee on Monday night. But as Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) pointed out, no matter who Trump chooses, the result will be a nominee who's been rubber-stamped by the right-wing fringe — and who will vote to outlaw abortion and kill Obamacare.

"I’ve never seen a president of the United States in effect make himself a puppet of outside groups, and choose from a group of right-wing fringe ideologues that are prepared on this list," Blumenthal said on Sunday morning's edition of "This Week" on ABC.

The "list" Blumenthal referred to is a list of about 25 potential Supreme Court nominees who were hand-picked by conservative legal activists at the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society.

The Federalist Society's executive vice president and Trump's top Supreme Court adviser, Leonard Leo, was also a guest on Sunday's "This Week." Leo confirmed to host George Stephanopoulos that Trump's right-wing-approved Supreme Court list has been narrowed down to four finalists: Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Barrett, Thomas Kardiman, and Raymond Kethledge.

"Are you certain that any one of those four is a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?" Stephanopoulos asked Blumenthal, referring to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that gave American women the right to end a pregnancy.

"If you look at what the president said — which is he will nominate someone only if that person is committed to automatically overturn Roe v. Wade — if you look at what the president said about John Roberts, his berating Roberts for failing to strike down the Affordable Care Act — he certainly has criteria," Blumenthal said.

As Blumenthal pointed out, Trump has said before that Roe v. Wade will "automatically" be overturned if he is allowed to nominate more than one Supreme Court justice during his presidency.

Blumenthal added that Trump has "outsourced this decision to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation," and blasted him for being a "puppet" of those fringe groups.

Indeed, Trump has made many clear and explicit promises about overturning Roe v. Wade. And Leo, his top Supreme Court adviser, is reportedly one of the most dedicated and influential activists in the country when it comes to building a Supreme Court that will outlaw abortion.

As Blumenthal notes, Trump's pick is guaranteed to have harmful views on health care — both on women's health specifically, and on the affordability of health care for all Americans.

Courts are currently considering a lawsuit, which the Trump administration supports, that could destroy Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing health conditions. And that case could make its way to the Supreme Court.

As Blumenthal also pointed out, Trump's right-wing Supreme Court pick could devastate civil rights for LGBTQ people, voting rights, criminal justice protections, workers' rights, the environment — practically every facet of the law that protects vulnerable individuals.

Trump is also in the unique position of choosing a Supreme Court nominee who could very well end up deciding issues related to the Mueller investigation into Trump campaign collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice.

The extreme views of Trump's Supreme Court candidates, as well as Trump's own inherent conflicts of interest, are more than reason enough for any senator of conscience to oppose whichever selection Trump makes.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.