Can Susan Collins Really Derail the Next Supreme Court Appointment?

On July 9, President Donald Trump will announce his next appointment to the United States Supreme Court — one that many of us are convinced will be a female version of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

But is there a small shred of hope that the new nominee won’t†be the conservative disaster we are expecting? Maybe, but that relies on Maine Senator Susan Collins — and, as we’ve seen in the past, that’s a very dangerous prospect.

With Donald Trump ready to appoint his second Supreme Court Justice in less than two years, the ideological makeup of the court is about to change for at least the next decade — if not longer. Democrats have floated a number of ideas about pulling a Mitch McConnell and refusing to hold hearings once the new nominee is announced, instead pushing the proceedings off until after the 2018 midterm elections, when they hope to have a Senate majority.

As it stands now, thanks to the end of the ability to filibuster judicial nominees, the GOP needs just a simple majority in order to approve the eventual appointee. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell†has signalled his intention to hold the confirmation in the fall, prior to the midterms. And with only 51 votes necessary, he could easily get the new justice seated — as long as the party remains together.

That’s where Collins is throwing a wrench into the system.

One of the last remaining pro-choice Republicans in office, Collins has announced that she will not vote for any justice who is “hostile” to abortion rights.

In an interview with Jake Tapper of ABC News,†Collins†explained:

I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade, because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law. And I believe that that is a very important, fundamental tenet of our judicial system, which, as Chief Justice Roberts says, helps to promote stability and even-handedness.

Of course, there isn’t a single person listed on the 25-candidate short list who meets her criteria.†The list itself was created with the help of the Federalist Society,†a group that already did the heavy lifting†to ensure that all of the candidates would be prepared to send the issue back to the states at a minimum — and potentially end abortion altogether, if possible.

Collins, however, believes that she’s found a logical solution: a new group of candidates. And the White House, perhaps trying to placate her, claims they are doing just that.

The Hill reports:

The White House has expanded its list of potential Supreme Court nominees after Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)†urged President Trump to broaden his search, the†GOP senator said Sunday. “The White House counsel told me there have been a few additional, potential nominees added to that list,” Collins said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” while discussing her meeting with Trump earlier this week.

Even if it’s true that there are new candidates, is it at all possible that they might believe that Roe v. Wade should stay settled? Not a chance.

James Downie at the†Washington Post†writes:

Collins is in her fourth term as senator. She knows how Washington works, and she surely knows that†the†Republican base will not tolerate a nominee who would not vote to overturn Roe. As with Gorsuch, the search for Trumpís next nominee is being led by Leonard Leo of the conservative Federalist Society. Whoever comes out will be less in the mold of Kennedy and more in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

In fact, Downie adds, when it comes down to†the end, odds are†that Collins will†vote with her party, just as she almost always does:

So when Collins claims, “I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade,” Democrats may hope thatís the case. Indeed, if Republicans can pick off a few red-state Democrats up for reelection, Collins may be free to vote against the nominee. But if it comes down to one vote, Collinsís words Sunday make clear that she will be able to convince herself to back Trumpís nominee.

Sure, we’ve seen moments where Collins managed to buck her party, such as the attempts by the GOP to dismantle Obamacare. But the reality is that for every vote where she has stood up for her constituents’ rights, there have been far more instances — like tax breaks for the wealthy — where she stayed in lockstep with Republicans, even when it harmed her voters at home.

Can Collins derail the next Supreme Court nominee? Definitely. But will she? That, answer, unfortunately is far less likely to be yes.

Photo Credit: Jordan Uhl/Flickr

33 comments

Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman11 days ago

COURAGE, SUSAN, AND DEEP THOUGHT.

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Cindy S
Cindy S13 days ago

thanks

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Debbi W
D. W14 days ago

Susan Collins may be nice but she is definitely no iron link in the chain. She's easily persuaded to vote the party line. I doubt she believes in anything strong enough to stand up to trump or his party of money grubbing bullies.

If Susan had a strong friend who remained by her side through the vote, she would likely vote against trump's nomination. There must be other republicans who've managed to stay below the radar who are pro choice. We need to find out who they are.

I think it is anti-religious to say people should have no voice for themselves. What I do wit my body is my business alone. I won't tell you what to do. All we want is the Freedom to make our own choices. That is the fundamental difference between the two parties. Repubs. Tell their people what to do -- Dems allow their people to choose for themselves. What a concept.

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Wesley S
Wesley Struebing14 days ago

As Ms Marty says, she can - but after receiving "assurances" (just like she did when she caved on the ACA votes - assurnaces that weren't worth the air to speak them) she'll vote to confirm whoever #notmypresident nominates. Now, Murkowski? I don't know' she might actually vote "no" to preserve Roe v Wade.

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Winnie A
Winn A14 days ago

I certainly hope so

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Angela J
Angela J14 days ago

Thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy B15 days ago

TY Susan Collins.

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Susanne R
Susanne R15 days ago

David F: Even Thomas Jefferson realized that constitutionalism wasn't practical:

"Originalists [or constitutionalists], by contrast, do not have an answer to Thomas Jefferson's famous question: "Why should we allow people who lived long ago, in a different world, to decide fundamental questions about our government and society today?"

(Source: The University of Chicago Law School: From David Strauss's book, The Living Constitution, published in 2010 by Oxford University Press, and this excerpt has been printed with their permission. Strauss is the Gerald A. Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law.)

Timothy McVeigh was a constitutionalist. The NRA and strong supporters of the Second Amendment prefer to interpret those amendments as constitutionalist. Enough said.

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Amanda M
Amanda M15 days ago

Sue H, I call them the Rethuglican Religious Reich, but your name for them works too. Either way, I don't trust ANY of them with our rights and freedoms, and that goes for Susan Collins too! As my Rule #21 states: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, this means WAR!

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Alea C
Alea C15 days ago

Republicans lie, so I'm assuming the worst. Another monster will be added to the list of monsters who use their power to destroy women. Coat hangers are in our future.

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