WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., says she does not have a litmus test for who she wants to serve on the Supreme Court, but someone similar to Justice Neil Gorsuch would be a great selection.
President Donald Trump is expected to announce Monday his nominee to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the nation’s highest court. Kennedy will retire at the end of July after serving since February 1988.
During an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline,” Capito said she wants Trump to nominate a judge similar to Gorsuch, who she voted to confirm last year.
“What I want is somebody who is well versed in the law, who’s fair, who’s a smart lawyer and a good judge. And somebody who is conservative but also is willing to look at the law in a non-judgemental way, like Judge Gorsuch,” she said. “I think that pick was incredibly brilliant on the president’s part, and I think he’s lived up to that.”
Gorsuch took office in April 2017, succeeding the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland in March 2016, but the Republican-controlled Senate did not take up the nomination.
Many senators, including Capito, said the nomination process should wait until after the election.
“Before a Supreme Court justice is confirmed to a lifetime position on the bench, West Virginians and the American people should have the ability to weigh in at the ballot box this November,” she said at the time. “My position does not change with the naming of a nominee today.”
Capito said on “Talkline” she should have said presidential election.
“The president was going to change and the people were going to have the opportunity in November to vote on the premise that the next president is going to be appointing a Supreme Court Justice,” she said. “I think people thought about it when they went to the ballot box.”
“The person making the nomination for the Supreme Court justice is still going to be President Trump, no matter when. I’m going to be supportive of our leader and move this process forward,” she added.
A judge more conservative than Kennedy could vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision establishing a woman’s right to abortion. Kennedy ruled multiple times in favor of abortion rights during his 30-year Supreme Court tenure.
Capito said she does not think the court will overturn the ruling.
“Fundamentally, it’s been a precedent for a long time,” she said.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., met with Trump on June 28. Manchin was one of three Democrats to vote for Gorsuch’s confirmation.