Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) may have thrown a wrench in Donald Trump’s plan to place a so-called “pro-life” judge on the Supreme Court with the intent of overturning Roe v. Wade.
On Sunday, Collins made it clear that she would never support a nominee who sought to advance an “activist agenda” like denying women their reproductive rights.
“A candidate for this important position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have, and that would indicate to me a failure to respect precedent,” Collins said on ABC’s “This Week.”
GOP Sen. Susan Collins, a key vote on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, says, “A candidate for this important position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have.” #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/FXt2sJN7fT
— ABC News (@ABC) July 1, 2018
Collins stressed the importance of respecting precedent as her deciding factor when she finally evaluates Trump’s SCOTUS nominee who’s set to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Recently, on Fox News, Trump told host Maria Bartiromo that he had no intention of asking his potential nominees about overturning the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion known as Roe v. Wade.
“[Trump] did tell me that he would not be asking that question,” Collins said Sunday. “And indeed it would be inappropriate to ask a judge nominee on how they are going to vote in a future case. A discussion of precedent, however, is very important.”
Kennedy, who said he planned to retire effective July 31, has been a pivotal swing vote in quite a few high-profile cases, including one which upheld Roe v. Wade.
His sudden retirement is a significant concern for Democrats who believe Trump wants to stack the court to overturn Roe v. Wade someday. However, Collins, who’s pro-choice, represents a crucial vote in the upcoming confirmation proceedings. Trump said that he plans to name his nominee on July 9, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY.) stated that the Senate would seek to vote on his nomination sometime this fall, presumably before the midterm elections.
However, Democrats seek to hold up the nomination until after the elections, citing the McConnell’s own logic from 2016 which blocked then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee from having the opportunity of an up or down vote due to it being an “election year.” While some would argue that Republicans meant a “presidential election year,” it’s a difference without a distinction if you consider the fact that a majority change in either the House or Senate would significantly impact the likelihood of confirmation for any Trump nominee. And Republicans are well aware of this fact, which is why they want to rush this nomination as fast as humanly possible.
But to do so would require the votes of Senators like Collins and retiring Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who are not fans of the current administration and at best maybe the wild cards which can derail Trump’s pick. Just imagine a Republican senator honoring a dying Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) with a dramatic thumbs-down vote on Trump’s SCOTUS pick? Talk about awesome.
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