For the second time since the retirement of pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, pro-abortion Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she will not support a pro-life nominee who she claims is “hostile” to abortion.
Previously, Collins, a key swing vote for the next U.S. Supreme Court nominee, said she will not support a judge who opposes Roe v. Wade and abortion.
Collins, a pro-abortion Republican from Maine, told CNN on Sunday that she believes Roe v. Wade established abortion as a “constitutional right.”
“I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” Collins said, “because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law.”
Collins said this is unacceptable because it would “indicate an activist agenda,” the AP reports.
Now the renegade Republican says she won’t support a nominee for the nation’s highest court who does not consider Roe v Wade settled law or who is hostile to abortion.
“It would be very difficult for me to support a nominee who did not consider Roe v. Wade settled law,” she said.
While she vows not to support a nominee who demonstrates “hostility” to Roe and abortion rights, she said it’s too soon to rule out a vote for President Trump’s pick.
“How can you ask me to take a position on a nominee whose identity I don’t know yet?” she asked.
“I understand just how important this appointment to the Supreme Court is,” she said. “I can only do what I think is right.”
Republicans hold a slim majority in the U.S. Senate with 51 members for Democrats’ 49, and the votes of Collins and U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another pro-abortion Republican, could determine whether Trump’s next nominee will be confirmed to the bench.
Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement June 27, 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.
However, Collins and Murkowski could get in the way of the confirmation, and the abortion industry already is lobbying them heavily to vote against any candidate Trump nominates.
Collins has a mixed voting record on abortion and often sides with the abortion industry on key votes. However, a good sign for pro-lifers, she consistently has voted yes to confirm Trump’s judicial nominees, including his first Supreme Court pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
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 Anchorage Daily News.
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The confirmation does not hinge on Murkowski and Collins alone. The U.S. Senate also has several 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. The president is expected to announce his choice July 9.
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.
Last week, 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.
“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. …
ACTION: Contact U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.