Despite a key meeting with the president and a history of supporting the pro-life movement, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia may oppose the confirmation of a pro-life Supreme Court nominee.
A Democrat and a key swing-vote senator, Manchin discussed his recent meeting with Trump and his vision for Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement in an interview with MetroNews.
Manchin stated in the interview that he is pro-life, but confirming an overtly pro-life Supreme Court nominee could make waves and further divide Americans.
“I’m pro life, but I know how (abortion) divides our country…If he picks somebody that’s hard core on Roe v. Wade or that’s hard core on repealing health care (Affordable Care Act), that’s a bigger lift.” He also stated that it was a “red flag” if a nominee was openly in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade
In a White House briefing last week, Trump promised to choose a nominee from a list of 25 conservative leaders, most of whom already are judges on federal circuit courts and state supreme courts.
A simple majority is needed to confirm a Supreme Court nominee, and there is a slight Republican advantage of 51-49 in the Senate. Several key swing-vote senators, including Manchin, were called to the White House last Thursday for a one-on-one meeting with the president.
When asked about what he told Trump during their meeting, Manchin stated: “I said I’d like to see someone who is a centrist. You give me a constitutionalist that believes in the rule of law and is centrist and moderate.”
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Despite his statements, Manchin has a spotty record of supporting pro-life policies. Last year, he voted to confirm conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. According to the National Right to Life Committee, Manchin has voted roughly 42 percent of the time in favor of pro-life policies since 2011. However, there were critical votes that Manchin opposed, such as the 2017 vote to defund Planned Parenthood.
This vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice could prove to be a critical decision for Manchin and a declaration of his true values. In recent years he was seen taking photos with both pro-abortion and pro-life activists. Furthermore, notorious pro-abortion groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood have also gone to great lengths to lobby senators like Manchin to vote in favor of their pro-abortion agendas.
Senator Manchin is not the first “pro-life” Democrat reluctant to vote for a pro-life nominee. Last week, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania expressed his opposition to a pro-life nominee to replace Kennedy.
Even though there may be uproar heard from his congressional colleagues in Washington, Manchin will have to think about the state he represents. West Virginia is a solidly pro-life state, and in 2016 Trump won West Virginia 69 percent to 27 percent. Regardless of the outcome, Manchin will have to answer to his constituents and generations of unborn constituents to come.
ACTION: Contact Senator Manchin and urge him to vote for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.