Trump says he has interviewed 4 candidates for high court

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The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has given President Donald Trump an unprecedented opportunity to sway the high court for decades, as Kennedy has often served as the panel's crucial swing vote on a plethora of issues.

But in an interview broadcast on Sunday, Trump told Fox News that he "probably" will not ask his nominee how he or she would vote on Roe versus Wade, adding that he is putting "conservative people on" the court.

Spokeswoman Sanders says Trump is seeking a candidate who has "right intellect" and the "right temperament" and will uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Still, Trump did not rule out the idea that his eventual pick could be instrumental in a future ruling that either reverses or guts Roe v. Wade, leaving it up to states whether to allow abortion. That means Democrats have a steep hill to climb if they intend to preserve the decisions on groundbreaking cases like Roe V. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges. Chief Justice John Roberts, for example, wrote a brief as a Department of Justice employee in 1990 that supported overturning the ruling But during his 2006 confirmation hearing before the Senate, he said the ruling was "settled as a precedent of the Court". He says both would be threatened by a conservative Trump nominee.

"Someone who devotes that much time to writing a book on precedent, I think understands how important a principle that is in our judicial system", Collins said.

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Though Democrats have been pushing for the Supreme Court confirmation to take place after the November midterm elections, Collins said Sunday on ABC that she is in favor of a speedier timeline, explaining she "see [s] no reason why we can't meet the deadline of getting someone on the court so that the court will be at full strength by the October convening".

During his 2016 campaign and presidency, Trump embraced anti-abortion groups and vowed to appoint federal judges who will favor efforts to roll back abortion rights.

Since each Supreme Court justice needs 51 votes to be confirmed, Democrats would only need one Republican to side against the nominee, assuming no Democrats break rank. "If he picks someone who is hardcore on Roe v. Wade or hardcore on repealing health care that's a bigger lift".

"I think Senator Collins made the point very clearly".

When asked on "State of the Union" whether she thought Justice Gorsuch would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, Collins said no, adding that she believes Gorsuch, the co-author of a book on precedent, understands that precedent is essential to the US judicial system. All three voted to confirm Gorsuch.

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