Schumer: Trump nominee must give personal views on abortion, hot-button issues
© Greg Nash
 
Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor, said there is "ample evidence" that whomever Trump picks would rule to undercut pre-existing conditions, bolster "corporate interest" and overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized the right to an abortion. 
 
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"The next nominee has a serious and solemn obligation to share their personal views on these legal issues no matter who President Trump selects tonight," Schumer said. 
 
Schumer added that the nominee should give an "affirmative statement of support for the personal liberties of all Americans." 
 
Schumer's attempt to lay down goalposts for the looming Supreme Court fight comes as Trump is scheduled to unveil his nominee at 9 p.m. during an announcement from the White House. 
 
Trump has reportedly narrowed his list of roughly two-dozen candidates to four: Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge.
 
Each of the nominees is from a previously released list compiled in consultation with conservative outside groups. 
 
Supreme Court nominees frequently demur when asked about the specifics of legal rulings, arguing they don't want to comment on an issue that could come before the court. Instead, nominees routinely talk about the importance of legal precedent, or stare decisis. 
 
Schumer called that an "almost meaningless bar." 
 
"When they say they'll obey settled law, you can't believe it. You can't believe it because it just hasn't happened in the new conservative court that is so eager to make law, not interpret it," he said.
 
He added that it was "near impossible" to think Trump would pick someone who wouldn't support curbing or overturning Roe v. Wade or chipping away at the Affordable Care Act. 
 
 
"He wants to make this about Roe v. Wade and about every political issue that people are interested in, but that's not what judges do. I think any nominee that would come out and basically campaign based on a political platform in my view would be disqualifying," he added. 
 
Democrats have seized on abortion and health care as they plot a strategy to try to sink Trump's nominee. 
 
Because Republicans got rid of the 60-vote filibuster for Supreme Court nominees, Democrats can't block the pick on their own. 
 
But Democrats are looking to repeat the playbook that helped them sink ObamaCare repeal last year: Keep their caucus united and win over at least two GOP senators. Republicans hold a 51-49 majority, though with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPence, Pompeo urged Trump to clarify Russia remarks: report GOP lawmaker renews call for Trump to release tax returns after Putin summit House conservatives criticize media, not Trump, for Putin furor MORE (R-Ariz.) generally absent for health reasons, it is effectively 50-49. 
 
Schumer added on Monday that affordable health care and a woman's right to make "sensitive health care decisions" are hanging in the balance with Trump's nominee. 
 
"The views of President Trump's next court nominee could very well determine whether the Senate approves or rejects this nomination," he said.