Trump: I'm told I shouldn't ask my SCOTUS nominee about Roe v. Wade

President Trump said he probably won’t ask potential Supreme Court candidates about their opinions on abortion before nominating Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s replacement.

In a program that aired Sunday morning, Fox News journalist Maria Bartiromo asked Trump if he would ask his nominees beforehand how they might vote on Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision affirming that the constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.

Trump responded that he’s been advised not to ask such specific questions and that he plans to appoint another conservative justice like Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed to replace Antonin Scalia.

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy is seen during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day Gorsuch, 49, was sworn in as the 113th Associate Justice in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
Justices of the US Supreme Court sit for their official group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2017. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice of the US John G. Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy and Neil Gorsuch are seen during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day Gorsuch, 49, was sworn in as the 113th Associate Justice in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, left, embraces Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy after taking the oath of office during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, April 10, 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump said Gorsuch is 'deeply faithful to the Constitution' in the beginning of his speech at the start of the ceremony. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy delivers remarks before administering the judicial oath to Judge Neil Gorsuch during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day Gorsuch, 49, was sworn in as the 113th Associate Justice in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 28: President Donald Trump greets Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy after addressing a joint session of Congress in the Capitol's House Chamber, February 28, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and John Roberts arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 20: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy arrives for the funeral of fellow Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception February 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. Scalia, who died February 13 while on a hunting trip in Texas, layed in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday and his funeral service will be at the basillica today. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 19: Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan, left, Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Anthony M. Kennedy react during prayers at a private ceremony in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court where late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia lies in repose on February 19, 2016 in Washington, DC. Justice Scalia will lie in repose in the Great Hall of the high court where visitors will pay their respects. (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin - Pool/Getty Images)
US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (L) and Justices Anthony Kennedy (2nd L), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (C), Stephen Breyer (2nd R) and Sonia Sotomayor listen to US President Barack Obama deliver the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 12, 2016. Obama gives his final State of the Union address, perhaps the last opportunity of his presidency to sway a national audience and frame the 2016 election. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 24: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, left, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, attend an address by Pope Francis to a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber of the Capitol, September 24, 2015. Francis is the first pope to ever address Congress. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy listens to opening statements during a Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2015. Sprinting toward their spring recess, the House and Senate will separately consider budget blueprints, perhaps leading to the first joint congressional budget in six years. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: U.S. Supreme Court Justices (L-R) John G. Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor stand before the State of the Union address by President Barack Obama on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, left, and Anthony Kennedy testify during a Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2015. Sprinting toward their spring recess, the House and Senate will separately consider budget blueprints, perhaps leading to the first joint congressional budget in six years. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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“Well, that’s a big one and probably not. They’re all saying, ‘Don’t do that. You don’t do that. You shouldn’t do that.’ But I’m putting conservative people on and I’m very proud of Neil Gorsuch. He’s been outstanding. His opinions are you know so well written, so brilliant. And I’m going to try and do something like that but I don’t think I’m going to be so specific in the questions I’ll be asking. And I’m actually told I shouldn’t be,” Trump said on “Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo.”

Bartiromo reminded Trump that during his 2016 presidential campaign he said the issue of abortion should be left to the states.

“Maybe someday it will be to the states. You never know how that’s going to turn out. That’s a very complex question. [Roe v. Wade] is probably the one that people are talking about in terms of having an effect. But we’ll see what happens. But it could very well end up with states at some point.”

Kennedy’s retirement on Thursday elicited fear from liberals and hope from conservatives. Trump’s replacement is expected to shift the court’s ideological balance to the right, which could shape the country’s judicial future for generations to come. Republicans currently control the Senate, which can confirm Trump’s nominee with a simple majority, but this could change with the midterm elections.

Bartiromo asked Trump if he thinks his nominee will be in place before the midterm elections.

“I think it’s going to go very quickly. I think we’re going to have a lot of support. I think we’re going to have support from Democrats, frankly, I think if it’s the right person. I’m going to pick the right person. I’m going to pick somebody that’s outstanding. And everybody on that list is outstanding, but I’m going to pick somebody who’s outstanding. And I think yes, I think we’re going to go very quickly.”

Despite this optimism, Trump said the path toward confirmation will probably be “vicious” because all the liberals can do is “obstruct and resist.”

“You know, their whole thing is resist. And maybe someday we’ll be able to get along with the other side. I don’t know. But right now it’s only resist. That’s all they want to do is stop things from happening, so they’re going to try very hard.”

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility toward Roe v. Wade because that would mean his or her judicial philosophy didn’t have respect for established decisions, which she considers a “fundamental tenet of our judicial system.”

When asked if it’s fair to expect that any of Trump’s nominees would vote to overthrow Roe v. Wade, Collins said that Trump assured her he would not ask that question of his nominees.

“Well, the president told me in our meeting that he would not ask that question. And that is what he has most recently said, on the advice of his attorney. So, I think what he said as the candidate may not have been informed by the legal advice that he now has, that it would be inappropriate for him to ask a nominee how he or she would rule on a specific issue.”

More Yahoo News stories on Anthony Kennedy’s retirement

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