Collins would oppose court pick with Roe v Wade 'hostility'

By Christopher Burns, BDN Staff •.

The president said he was not intending to ask candidates about their positions on Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights case that the court decided in 1973.

"The White House counsel told me there have been a few additional, potential nominees added to that list", Collins told ABC's "This Week". "I believe that is a very important, fundamental tenet to our judicial system".

A well-established moderate on many issues, Collins said she met with President Trump recently to discuss his choice to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Leonard Leo, a lawyer advising the president on his Supreme Court pick, tried to play down the possibility of overturning Roe, saying the matter was largely settled. "And that'll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court".

When asked about recently proposed changes to federal Title X family planning funds that help pay for reproductive healthcare for low-income women, more than half said they are against the changes.

In another appearance, on ABC News' "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 US law and the Constitution.

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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. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both supporters of abortion rights, key to determining who will fill Kennedy's seat.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Wednesday on the Senate floor that he anticipates voting on Kennedy's successor in the fall.

Collins of ME is a frequent swing vote in the Senate, which Republicans control by a slim majority.

Trump's initial short list of 25 names of potential nominees was largely handpicked by The Federalist Society, an influential group of conservative lawyers. "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".

Trump told Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo he "probably" wouldn't ask a nominee how they would vote on Roe v. Wade, which Collins said he also told her in a meeting last week with other key senators.

"I'm going to have an in-depth discussion with the nominee, and I believe very much that Roe v. Wade is settled law, as it has been described by Chief Justice Roberts", Collins later added on ABC.

"I may have two of them come up, like the old days, to Bedminster", Trump said, referring to the staff and Cabinet interviews he held there in late 2016 during the presidential transition.

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