The Supreme Court finally got a moment from the presidential candidates Sunday night, with Hillary Clinton saying she would appoint justices who would lead the court in a different “direction,” and Donald Trump saying his nominees would be in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Clinton said the Senate has been derelict in not voting on President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia. But she did not endorse Garland or say she would nominate him if she were president.
As she has said before, Clinton promised her nominees would get “dark, unaccountable money” out of politics; she has said she wants to overturn Citizens United v. FEC. She also said she would look for those who would protect Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of abortion rights and reaffirm the court’s decision that there is a constitutional right for gay couples to marry.
The Democrat said she would look for nominees beyond those who have attended elite law schools, clerked for federal judges and gone on the bench. She said she would look for those who “actually understand what people are up against,” and be more skeptical of big business’s arguments at the court.
Trump was less expansive. He noted he was named a group of 20 potential nominees to the court that has been “very beautifully reviewed by just about everybody.” His list was drawn largely from names that have been advanced by conservative groups. He said his nominees would protect the Second Amendment, which he said was “totally under siege from people like” Clinton.
Instead of expounding on the court’s role, Trump asked why Clinton was not contributing money to her own campaign if she were concerned about the influence of campaign contributions. She countered that she believed in the Second Amendment but also that it allowed certain gun control measures.