Trump anti-abortion supreme court pick 'not acceptable', says Collins

Trump anti-abortion supreme court pick 'not acceptable', says Collins

"None of the people who are being talked about now in the public space in the media are people who have a clear position on Roe v. Wade", he said, as quoted by the Washington Free Beacon.

"There are people on that list whom I could not support because I believe that they have demonstrated a disrespect for the vital principle of stare decisis", Collins said on ABC, referring to the principle of respecting past judicial precedents.

"Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that's really what's going to be - that will happen", Trump said during the final debate of the 2016 presidential election.

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"I don't think I'm going to be so specific in the questions I'll be asking", Trump told Fox.

"I actually don't", Collins said.

Republicans control the Senate, which must confirm any nominee, by a 51-49 majority, making the views of moderates such as Collins, and some Democrats, crucial to assembling the 51 votes needed for confirmation.

Collins told ABC's "This Week" program, "I told [Trump] that I was looking for a nominee that would demonstrate a respect for precedent". "A candidate of this import position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me, because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don't want to see a judge have". "If you look at the last four decisions in the Supreme Court at five-four, they would have all been reversed". But Trump has changed his rhetoric in the past week after Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement. "It has been established as a constitutional right for 46 years - 45 years, and was reaffirmed 26 years ago". "No one makes it to the Supreme Court without going through the United States Senate, and in the United States Senate, everyone has a vote", said Senator Elizabeth Warren. Collins, who supports Roe V. Wade, is a key vote in the Senate, where Republicans only have a one vote majority in the chamber.

That may be a moot distinction, given as Trump's list of prospective nominees was crafted with the assistance of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal think tank that is deeply hostile to reproductive rights.

Collins, who has previously bucked party lines on other key issues such as health care, said she plans to have an in-depth conversation with the nominee.

CBS News has learned that D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Chicago Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett are now Mr. Trump's leading contenders for the appointment to the nation's highest court.

On Sunday, Leonard Leo, an outside adviser to Trump on judicial nominations, said he expected Trump to select a nominee who is mindful of precedent but who is also more "originalist and textualist".

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