When Donald Trump came to power in 2017, the US Supreme Court displayed perfect equality. Since the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016, the institution has indeed been made up of four conservative judges, four liberal judges and one vacant seat. Four years later, when Joe Biden succeeded him, the Court leaned heavily in favor of the conservatives, who held six out of nine positions.
→ CONTEXT. In the United States, the Supreme Court could decide to reverse the right to abortion
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump pledged to appoint judges with conservative values, including those opposed to abortion, to all federal courts. A promise more than fulfilled. In addition to having chosen 200 federal judges out of approximately 700 in the United States, Donald Trump will have appointed a third of the judges of the Supreme Court, becoming the most influential president on this court for forty years.
Three calculated appointments
The process of appointing judges is indeed very political, and particularly those of the Supreme Court. The latter plays the role of arbiter of major social issues in the United States and makes decisions that change the country. It is she who has the last word on particularly divisive subjects, such as in 2015 when she legalized the right to marriage between two people of the same sex or in 2010 when she prohibited life imprisonment for minor criminals.
Donald Trump therefore had every interest in placing conservative pawns within the Court so that it could influence the 50 states of the country. The former president took the rare opportunity to name three, Neil Gorush, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, to replace Antonin Scalla, Anthony Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Judges known for their conservative positions
Appointed in January 2017, Neil Gorush is a conservative magistrate known for his positions in favor of the death penalty, against euthanasia and very attached to religious freedoms. Brett Kavanaugh, who entered the Supreme Court a year and a half later, was also chosen for his conservative choices. This former legal adviser to George W. Bush had spoken out many times against the banning of assault rifles.
→ PORTRAIT. Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic on the Supreme Court
Finally, Amy Coney Barrett, judge since October 2020, does not hide her faith. A practicing Catholic, mother of seven children and known for her anti-abortion positions, she places herself on the political spectrum at the opposite of her predecessor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a democrat distinguished for her commitment to women’s rights.
These three appointments have therefore strongly guided the current Supreme Court. They largely explain why the institution is on the verge of overturning, according to a leaked draft document, the historic judgment Roe v Wade, which has recognized the right to abortion for almost half a century. in the USA.