US President Donald Trump has indicated he hopes to fill the Supreme Court with right-wing justices if he wins re-election.
Speaking to the Christian Broadcast Network, he said he was ‘surprised’ by the court’s historic ruling in favor of LGBT+ workers.
Moreover, he warned if the court has ‘a radical left group of justices’ it could almost ‘wipe out’ religion in the US. He also said it would destroy the anti-abortion movement.
It is a clear attempt to persuade conservatives and Christians to vote for his re-election on 3 November. Typically Republican presidents nominate conservative justices to the court when appointments come up, while Democrats tend to nominate more liberal judges.
However, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Trump has appointed two justices to the court during his presidency. And the first of those, Neil Gorsuch, wrote the majority pro-LGBT+ opinion in the case earlier this month.
The court ruled that LGBT+ employees enjoy federal protection from discrimination at work. Moreover Chief Justice John Roberts, another Republican nominee during the George W Bush presidency, also sided with the Democrats on the court.
Asked specifically about Gorsuch’s role in the ruling, Trump said:
‘I was surprised. I was surprised. Some people felt that it was a decision that they weren’t as surprised as I was. Yeah, I was surprised.’
Supreme Court: ‘We’ve had a lot of losses’
That decision on 15 June wasn’t the only defeat for Trump this month at the Supreme Court.
Just a few days later on 18 June, the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to end a program that allows 700,000 young people to work, study and live in the US without fear of deportation.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program’s beneficiaries – or ‘Dreamers’ – include around 39,000 LGBT+ people.
No wonder then, that Trump complained to the Christian Broadcast Network that the Supreme Court did’t rule as he expected.
He said: ‘So far, we’re not doing too well. It says, look: We’ve had a lot of losses with a court that was supposed to be in our favor. This is just to show what it means.
‘We need, you know, you’ll probably have a couple of more judges in the next four years. It could even be more than that, it could be three or four.
‘If you have a radical left group of judges, religion, I think, will be almost wiped out in America. If you look at it, pro-life will be absolutely wiped out. So, if you have that happening, pro-life is going to be out, it’s going to be gone.’
Experts say that Trump is becoming more anti-LGBT+ as he fights for re-election. Indeed this month he also attacked trans healthcare rights. By contrast, Joe Biden has promised to prioritize LGBT+ rights if he wins the White House.