Courts & the Law, News

Trump, Clinton address Supreme Court nominations during debate

The next president will likely set the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Americans got a glimpse Sunday night of how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s visions divide when it comes to nominating justices.

In short, Clinton wants progressive minds leading the court. She said during the second Presidential debate that she thinks the current court has gone in the wrong direction.

“And so I would want to see the Supreme Court reverse Citizens United and get dark, unaccountable money out of our politics. Donald doesn’t agree with that.

I would like the Supreme Court to understand that voting rights are still a big problem in many parts of our country, that we don’t always do everything we can to make it possible for people of color and older people and young people to be able to exercise their franchise. I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality.

Now, Donald has put forth the names of some people that he would consider. And among the ones that he has suggested are people who would reverse Roe v. Wade and reverse marriage equality. I think that would be a terrible mistake and would take us backwards.

I want a Supreme Court that doesn’t always side with corporate interests. I want a Supreme Court that understands because you’re wealthy and you can give more money to something doesn’t mean you have any more rights or should have any more rights than anybody else.”

Clinton said she “deeply regrets” the Senate’s refusal to confirm President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and that it’s a dereliction of duty.

The high-court has been shorthanded for an unprecedented 209 days. As it stands, justices are ideologically split 4-4.

If elected, Clinton said, she would immediately move to fill the vacancy.

Trump said Sunday night that he is looking to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia.

“I’m looking for judges – and I’ve actually picked 20 of them so that people would see, highly respected, highly thought of, and actually very beautifully reviewed by just about everybody.

But people that will respect the Constitution of the United States. And I think that this is so important. Also, the Second Amendment, which is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton. They’ll respect the Second Amendment and what it stands for, what it represents. So important to me.”

The rest of Trump’s answer was about how his campaign is funded and included him asking Clinton how hers is funded.

The next president could nominate as many as four justices to the high court.

The Supreme Court vacancy may be what’s on voters’ minds currently, but it’s important to remember that there are 99 total federal judicial vacancies with 59 pending nominees – most of which are in the lower courts, where individuals have the most interaction.

The longest running vacancy in the nation is in the Eastern District of North Carolina, where Sen. Richard Burr has blocked two nominations.

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