Donald Trump has said it “is certainly possible” that Amy Coney Barrett will be part of a supreme court decision overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling which made abortion legal in the US.
“She is certainly conservative in her views, in her rulings, and we’ll have to see how that all works out but I think it will work out,” Trump told Fox & Friends Weekend in an interview broadcast on Sunday, asked about whether Barrett, if confirmed, would be part of a 6-3 conservative-liberal ruling “on a life issue”.
“It’s certainly possible. And maybe they do it in a different way. Maybe they’d give it back to the states. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Progressives and Democrats fear the Indiana appeals judge’s strict Catholicism and conservative views will colour any ruling on abortion rights. They also worry about the Affordable Care Act, which provides healthcare to millions of Americans. A Republican attempt to strike it down is due before the court on 10 November.
Republicans in the Senate are rushing to confirm Barrett before the presidential election on 3 November. Democrats oppose the timetable and are backed by extensive public polling which shows majorities saying the winner of the election should choose the replacement for the liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died aged 87 last week.
But Democrats have few options when it comes to trying to stop or even merely delay Barrett’s confirmation.
Trump has nominated two conservatives to the court already but it has not always ruled in his favour, with justices recently upholding LGBTQ rights in a discrimination case and going against the administration on immigration. The president told Fox he had been “surprised by some of the rulings that we’ve already had over the last year”.
“You know, you think you know somebody and then you get rulings federal a little bit different than you think could happen,” he said. “So you never know what’s going to happen. Mostly, I’m looking for somebody that can interpret the constitution as written. We say it all the time and she [Judge Amy Coney Barrett] is very strong on that. And it’ll be very interesting.”
Trump was famously reported to have said he was “saving” Barrett “for Ginsburg”. But he told Fox that in meetings with Barrett before her unveiling on Saturday, he “didn’t discuss certain concepts and certain things.
“And some people say you shouldn’t. I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t. But I decided not to do it. And I think it gives her freedom to do what she has to do. She has to make rulings. But I think she’s going to make a lot of people very proud.”