Has Trump incidentally squashed his own argument about the Supreme Court?

John Roberts.
(Image credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

President Trump may be dissatisfied with some recent Supreme Court decisions, but voters who want the bench to lean conservative don't seem too worried about the direction it's going, The New York Times reports, and that could potentially have an effect on the 2020 election.

Trump won some supporters in 2016 who were wary of his candidacy but felt his presidency was necessary to shift the balance of the country's highest court, and Trump did indeed fill two vacancies with justices who are considered adherents to conservative jurisprudence. As it turns out, the court has issued some surprising rulings with Chief Justice Roberts building a reputation as the court's swing vote, although Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have sided with the more liberal members of the court on certain issues too.

The Trump re-election campaign is therefore once again bringing the Supreme Court to the forefront in the 2020 election, arguing it's necessary to instill another conservative judge should a vacancy open up. That will surely appeal to some Trump voters, but the Times reports it might not resonate as broadly as it did in 2016 because people are more or less satisfied with the Supreme Court's performance since Gorsuch and Kavanaugh took their seats. Trump himself may have played a role in that. "It's harder to make the case this year than it was in 2016 that there is an existential threat to the courts," said Rory Cooper, a Republican strategist. "Part of the problem is that the president and Senate Republicans have been so vocal about what a good job they've done on judicial confirmations, that some voters may think the job is done."

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Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.