U.S. Sen. Susan 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.
She also said she is not comfortable with all of the names on President Donald Trump’s short list of nominees.
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.
In another appearance, on ABC News’s “This Week,” Collins said that any judge who wants to overturn Roe has an “activist agenda” that she thinks goes against the fundamental tenets of U.S. law and the Constitution.
Trump has already met with Collins to discuss potential candidates for the Supreme Court, and she said she let him know that she would not support some of the people on the list of 25 judges he’s considering for the critical role on the nation’s highest court. She said she urged him to expand his list.
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 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. 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. …
“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.
Pro-life organizations are encouraging pro-life individuals to contact U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.