On Thursday, Donald Trump weighed in on abortion rights for the first time since the Supreme Court struck down abortion clinic restrictions in Texas, breaking a peculiar three-day silence on the issue that raised eyebrows among political observers and his socially conservative supporters.
The court declared Monday that burdensome restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas are unconstitutional, a decision that could carry sweeping consequences for other states with similar laws. Legal experts consider it the most significant decision on abortion rights in a generation.
Trump, who boasts high support among Christian evangelical voters, did not immediately detail his thoughts on the decision. Speaking Thursday on the issue, Trump said the decision would not have come down the way it did if he had been president.
"Now if we had Scalia ... or if Scalia was replaced by me, you wouldn't have had that. Okay? It would've been the opposite," Trump told radio host Mike Gallagher during an interview, referring to late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy voted with the court's liberals in the 5-to-3 decision. Contrary to Trump's comments, the decision would probably have fallen 5 to 4 if Scalia had been alive.
Trump also said that the decision was the first of many liberal victories to come if his likely Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, wins the presidency in November. On the campaign trail, Trump has regularly talked about Supreme Court appointments to elevate the stakes of the race.
"You know, there's your first example right there ...that's going to be the first of many. And if she gets in, if she gets in, you won't even have to question. You wouldn't even have to bother going to court. You're going to know the answers," he said.
Trump took the opportunity to fire a shot at Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., whom he has regularly assailed on the campaign trail for voting with the court's liberals on cases related to the Affordable Care Act.
"Now, you know, when you appoint judges sometimes, they change their minds, because you had that in the case of Obamacare with John Roberts," Trump said. "I mean, who would've thought that could’ve happened? He could’ve killed it twice, and he didn't."