Two pro-abortion Republicans in the U.S. Senate may be the deciding votes on the next U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Republicans hold a slim majority in the U.S. Senate with 51 members for Democrats’ 49, and the votes of U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine could determine whether President Donald Trump’s next nominee will be confirmed to the bench.
Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, and Trump has promised to appoint a pro-life justice to the high court. Kennedy’s retirement means Trump will have the opportunity to appoint a justice who could swing the court conservative and be a deciding vote in overturning Roe v. Wade.
The Anchorage Daily News reports the two Senators already are being singled out in the raucous debate.
While they are Republicans, both have mixed voting records on abortion and often side with the abortion industry on key votes. However, a good sign for pro-lifers, both have consistently voted yes to confirm Trump’s judicial nominees, including his first Supreme Court pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
According to the report:
Murkowski called the future of Roe v. Wade – the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide – a “significant factor,” but she stressed that in no way will that landmark ruling be the sole factor for her.
“And I don’t think it should be the only factor for anybody,” Murkowski said. “It’s not as if those are the only matters that come before the Supreme Court.”
Collins said Thursday that although she wouldn’t ask Trump’s pick how he or she would rule on specific issues, she always presses judicial nominees about their views on legal precedent.
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“I do get a sense from them on whether or not they respect precedent,” Collins said. “And from my perspective, Roe v. Wade is an important precedent and it is settled law.”
Trump has not named his choice yet, but pro-abortion groups are urging Senators to reject whomever he chooses. They also are flooding Murkowski and Collins with phone calls and messages urging them to oppose his nominee, according to the report.
Here’s more from the report:
Of the 25 names Trump has listed as potential justices, 17 have been confirmed by the Senate for federal judgeships, while two are pending. Murkowski has supported all of the candidates nominated during her time in the Senate while Collins voted against one: Judge William Pryor of the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Groups that favor abortion rights have began flooding Senate offices with phone calls and are widening the universe of targeted Republicans beyond Collins and Murkowski to Sen. Dean Heller, Nev., the most politically vulnerable Senate Republican on the ballot this fall.
The confirmation does not hinge on Murkowski and Collins alone. The U.S. Senate also has several moderately pro-life Democrats who voted to confirm Gorsuch. Vice President Mike Pence also can serve as a tie-breaking vote, as he has on other pro-life legislation in the past.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they will vote prior to the mid-term elections on Trump’s nominee.
On Wednesday, Trump promised to choose a nominee from the list of 25 conservative leaders, most of whom already are judges on federal circuit courts and state supreme courts.
Pro-life advocates and other conservatives have praised Trump for the possible Supreme Court nominees on his list. He chose conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch from the list in 2017.
“We need intellect, we need so many things,” Trump said at a rally Wednesday in North Dakota. “There is so many elements that goes into the making of a great justice of the Supreme Court. …
“Democrats want judges who will rewrite the Constitution any way they want to do it, and take away your Second Amendment, erase your borders, throw open the jailhouse doors and destroy your freedoms,” he continued.