The chairman of Roy Moore's Senate campaign says potential vacancies on the Supreme Court make the upcoming Alabama contest all the more critical for conservatives concerned about the direction of the nation's highest court.
Speculation continues that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the longest-serving member on the Supreme Court, may announce his retirement. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, Kennedy – who in February will have served 30 years on the bench – has often voted with liberal justices on issues concerning LGBT rights, abortion restrictions, and affirmative action.
CNN recently reported that liberals are concerned that before he leaves office Trump might also get to nominate replacements for two liberal justices: Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer – both of whom were appointed by then-President Bill Clinton.
Bill Armistead, chairman of the Roy Moore for Senate Campaign, says that President Trump has "some very fine candidates" on his list of prospective Supreme Court justices – but argues that the appointment of any of those individuals would be jeopardized if Alabama sends a Democrat to the Senate.
"Of course the rumor is that Justice Kennedy is going to step down from the Supreme Court," says Armistead. "If that happens, then all eyes really need to be focused on very clearly that this race is so important. You cannot have a Doug Jones [Moore's Democratic opponent] up there who's an extreme liberal Democrat doing all he can to deny Donald Trump his nominee on the Supreme Court."
On the other hand, says Armistead, a Senator Roy Moore would be fighting to get confirmation of Trump's future Supreme Court nominees.
"Whether or not Kennedy steps down, I don't know. But I do know the that likelihood [is high] that there's going to be a vacancy sometime during President Trump's term and Senator Moore's [potential] term," he continues, "and we would much rather have someone supporting the nominee of President Trump as opposed to having someone ... fighting to deny Donald Trump his choice for the Supreme Court."
Alabama's special election is set for December 12.