Trump interviews 4 for Supreme Court, 2-3 more to go

Supreme Court battle revives abortion debate

Greg Nash

"My colleagues on both sides of the aisle [Democrats and Republicans] know that this could be one of the key votes of their entire career", Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington state said on NBC's Meet the Press program. Collins also said she encouraged Trump to "broaden" his list beyond the 25 potential nominees already on it.

"I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade, because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy does not include a respect for established decisions".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters in Ashland, Kentucky, on Monday that "it's probably going to be close; I think there will be a big national, campaign rage".

"I want a judge that will apply the law to the facts of the case with fidelity to the Constitution", she said "Roe v. Wade is a constitutional right that is well-established, and no less an authority than Justice Roberts said that repeatedly at his confirmation hearing". Americans for Prosperity planned to spend millions on pressuring vulnerable Democrats or Republicans who are on the fence about a potential nominee.

Similarly, Justice Neil Gorsuch, who Trump nominated to the Court a year ago, is widely seen as a pro-life conservative.

During the same interview, Collins said there are individuals on President Donald Trump's shortlist who she would not support, citing their alleged "disrespect" for stare decisis.

On Sunday, Trump seemed to reaffirm that belief, telling Fox News that abortion "could very well end up with states at some point".

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In April 2017, Collins joined her Republican colleagues in a party-line 52-48 vote to change Senate rules so that Supreme Court nominees need only a simple majority rather than a supermajority of 60 votes to be confirmed, a move that gives minority Democrats little hope to prevent a vote.

The Maine senator did vote for Trump's previous Supreme Court pick, now-Justice Neil Gorsuch, saying on CNN that - contrary to popular opinion - she did not believe Gorsuch would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"A number of judges (have told me) that good judges are always unhappy with some of their decisions but they make the right call regardless of their personal views".

"Bill Nelson claims to be independent, but then he admits he expects to vote against the Supreme Court nominee before even knowing their name", tweeted Scott.

Collins and even several Democrats agreed to back Gorsuch because they said he clearly valued legal precedent and the independence of US courts.

In an attempt to remind Collins of how high the stakes are, women have started sending wire coat hangers to her office to serve as a visceral reminder of what happens when abortion is illegal.

Such a judge, she said, "would not be acceptable to me because that would indicate an activist agenda".

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