U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine opposed her party Tuesday when she voted against one of President Donald Trump’s conservative judicial nominees.
Collins was the only Republican who voted against Sarah Pitlyk as a federal judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, The Hill reports. The Senate voted 50-43 to end debate on Pitlyk’s nomination and conduct a final vote. It seems likely that she will be confirmed.
A rare pro-abortion Republican, Collins said she opposed Pitlyk because of her pro-life work.
“My concern is not based on Ms. Pitlyk’s personal views on abortion or various medical decisions, which she has every right to hold. I do question, however, given her pattern of strident advocacy, whether she could put aside her personal views on these matters,” Collins said.
Collins also argued that Pitlyk does not have “sufficient experience” for the federal bench.
The Maine senator has opposed several other of Trump’s nominees, but she was one of the deciding votes on the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Collins currently is running for re-election.
Nominated by President Donald Trump in August, Pitlyk would replace U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry in St. Louis. She is a strong human rights advocate and defender of religious freedom.
Her nomination has been a key target of abortion advocacy groups and pro-abortion Democrats.
According to a White House news release, Pitlyk served as a law clerk to Judge Brett Kavanaugh before he was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She earned degrees from Yale Law School, Boston College, Georgetown University and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.
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At the Thomas More Society, Pitlyk worked on cases involving the custody of a human embryo and the unconstitutional St. Louis ordinance that declared the city to be an “abortion sanctuary.” She also has been involved in the defense of David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress.
Mainstream news outlets describe Pitlyk as a controversial nominee because of her pro-life, pro-religious liberty record. But most mainstream news outlets did not scrutinize President Barack Obama’s radical pro-abortion judicial appointees in the same way.
“Why are liberal atheist proaborts considered fine for the Federal bench but a #prolife person is ‘controversial?’” Cheryl Sullenger, vice president of Operation Rescue, wrote on Twitter in reaction to reports about Pitlyk earlier this summer. “[The mainstream media’s] biased agenda is showing!”
Criticized by pro-abortion Democrats during committee hearings, Pitlyk assured lawmakers that she would be a fair and impartial judge.
“How can you ensure that a litigant in your courtroom seeking to vindicate her right to an abortion could trust your impartiality given your zealous and passionate advocacy?” questioned U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, during a committee hearing about her nomination.
Pitlyk responded, “I think I stand in a long line of other people who have sat at this table who have had histories in advocacy or in issue-related advocacy or in politics and who have become very distinguished jurists.”