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Some Trump Supporters In North Dakota Say They Aren't Focused On Roe V. Wade

Asked whether they would like the president to nominate a Supreme Court justice who would consider overturning the decision, some said they "cared more about other things."

Posted on June 28, 2018, at 3:10 a.m. ET

People wait for the US president to arrive for a rally at Scheels Arena on June 27, 2018, in Fargo, North Dakota.
Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

People wait for the US president to arrive for a rally at Scheels Arena on June 27, 2018, in Fargo, North Dakota.

As hundreds of North Dakotans waited to be let into an arena in Fargo where President Donald Trump would be speaking Wednesday night, news reached the crowd that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy would be retiring at the end of July — and that the president they supported would likely choose his successor.

Speaking onstage later, Trump praised Justice Kennedy, calling him a "star" and saying he was "honored" that the justice had given him the opportunity to nominate a second Supreme Court justice during his first term.

“I am very honored he chose to do it while I am in office because he was confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his legacy,” Trump says of Justice Kennedy’s decision to retire. Calls him “a star.”

Most of the people BuzzFeed News spoke to Wednesday were similarly excited by the prospect of Trump selecting another conservative justice for the Supreme Court bench. But when pressed on whether they hoped the president's pick would consider revisiting some of Kennedy's most consequential decisions — including on marriage equality and abortion rights — people at Fargo's Scheels Arena mostly demurred.

Among a dozen supporters interviewed, many expressed reservations about abortion — but nearly all said they believed it should be legal in at least some cases. And most said they do not believe a new court would or should overturn the court's decision in Roe v. Wade, or its subsequent opinion in 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which largely upheld Roe and which Kennedy supported.

"The court should be above reproach," Nancy Otto, 67, told BuzzFeed News Wednesday. "So long as they follow the constitution, they will make the right decision."

Here's what a dozen Trump supporters in Fargo had to say on Kennedy's retirement:

News of Justice Kennedy’s plan to retire has reached Trump supporters in Fargo. Pamela Johnson, a retiree who has been in line since 10:20 am, said she thinks it’s “great,” calling him the “swing vote,” but said she cares more about immigration & “getting people back to work.” https://t.co/bIIvylbvXe

Nancy Otto, 67, and Susan Terwilleger, 63, say they doubt even a court with two justices appointed by Trump would overturn the decision in Roe vs. Wade. Asked if they would want him to appoint someone who would consider it, Otto said she “wouldn’t want an activist judge.” https://t.co/OvzfFGU8DN

Trump supporter Jeanie Issel, 87, lives in Morehead, ND & used to be in the nightclub business. Asked about what she would want the president to prioritize in appointing a new justice, she says she believes abortion should be a woman’s choice and she’s “neutral” on gay marriage. https://t.co/aqyacg7Yp1

North Dakotan Trump supporters Carma Sisk & Sara Shirley say they wouldn’t want a new justice who opposes gay marriage. Sisk: “They can get married if they want - & be as miserable as the rest of us!” Shirley said she would not want Roe vs. Wade to be overturned with a new court. https://t.co/qia6XhOzHF

Nick Peterson, 34, of Fargo, said he wouldn’t want Trump to appoint a justice who would overturn Roe because he feels states should be able to determine their own laws regulating abortion. He’s “totally fine” with gay marriage. Muted rxns to Kennedy retiring at this rally so far. https://t.co/tXhW21oPHo

Brenda Gorseth, 50, from Carrington, North Dakota, said she’s excited Kennedy is retiring but doesn’t feel strongly about overturning Roe. “I don’t think it’ll happen, & I think there are more important issues,” she said. She said she once happily catered a gay wedding. https://t.co/QADl959vGi

Some people in the crowd in Fargo, ND say they feel strongly that life begins at conception. They express skepticism a new court could or would overturn Roe, but Suzy Mueller, 52, and her daughter Amanda, 27, say they are “pleased” Trump will have a chance to appoint a justice. https://t.co/aUIaSN2naw

Kevin & Sherri Kent on Justice Kennedy retiring and Trump appointing a new justice who could alter abortion access and gay rights: “There are more pressing issues than social issues - like the economy.” Kevin works in sunflower seed production, Sherri in cabinet manufacturing. https://t.co/oKBvCLEXzb

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