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How Trump's Supreme Court pick could impact the issues you care about

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How Trump's Supreme Court pick could impact the issues you care about

WATCH  | President Trump is scheduled to announce his Supreme Court nominee at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. What will that mean for the issues you care about? 

A familiar balance of power

If you liked Antonin Scalia, you’ll probably love whoever Trump chooses for the court.

The president is expected to pick a hardcore conservative to fill Scalia’s spot. And if that person is confirmed, the court would likely return to the ideological balance it held before Scalia's death: right-leaning, but with occasional liberal swing votes from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Trump's decision will come in prime-time. 

Who are the candidates?

As of Monday, speculation about Trump's selection mostly swirled around three men: Neil Gorsuch, William Pryor Jr. and Thomas Hardiman.

All three are federal judges who were appointed by former President George W. Bush, and all are widely believed to subscribe to conservative ideology. 

What would a new justice mean for abortion?

Trump promised during his campaign that his nominee would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision that gave women the constitutional right to have an abortion.

However, it doesn’t look like federal abortion law would be under threat from Trump's pick -- at least not right now.


Why no threat to abortion?

At the moment, there aren't any cases on the Supreme Court’s docket that would raise the question of the legality of abortion. And even if a case were to be considered, a majority of justices still support the constitutional right to an abortion.  

As the New York Times  pointed out: "So long as Justice Kennedy continues to support the broad outlines of the constitutional right to abortion established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, the addition of a new justice is not likely to make a difference."

What about environmental regulations?

On the other hand, Trump's Supreme Court pick certainly could make an impact on environmental regulations.

The court is scheduled to hear a case this term about the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, a controversial clean water regulation. Though the question raised in the lawsuit is procedural, the court's ruling could impact how the law is litigated in the future. 

Climate regulations under the microscope

The court also may hear a case on the landmark global warming regulations put in place by former President Obama. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is considering a case on those regulations now. Regardless of the outcome, it's likely that the Supreme Court will hear an appeal.


Should environmentalists worry?

If the Supreme Court does take that case, climate regulations could be in peril. The court already blocked Obama’s global warming regulations once, before Scalia's death. So if Trump’s nominee is anything like Scalia, environmentalists will have cause for concern.

What about transgender rights?

Justices are scheduled to hear a case on transgender student rights this term. Specifically, the case will look at an Obama administration policy that requires public schools to let transgender students use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

Trump’s selection could spell trouble for that policy. But Trump could also simply decide not to enforce the policy, and the Supreme Court case would be rendered moot.

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