‘Precedent’

GOP senator says Supreme Court nominees who seek to overturn Roe v. Wade are ‘unacceptable’

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). (Photo by Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of two women Republicans set to potentially determine the fate of abortion rights following the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, has said she will not vote for any nominee who shows “hostility” to Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that established women’s right to abortion nationwide.

In an interview with ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Collins said that while it was “inappropriate” for Senators to ask Supreme Court nominees about how they might vote on a future case, “a discussion of precedent, however, is very important.”

“A candidate 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,” she explained. “What I want to see is a nominee who, regardless of his or her personal views on the very difficult and contentious life issue, is going to respect precedent, regardless.”

But Collins’ decision to couch her stance as a defense of the rule of law — instead of as a principled decision based on a belief that abortion should remain legal nationwide — has left many pro-choice advocates wary that she might justify voting for a justice with anti-abortion rights views by citing their professed respect for “precedent.” In particular, many have pointed to court decisions as recent as last week — when Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom Collins voted to appoint, helped overturn a four-decade-old precedent in a ruling that severely limited the power of labor unions.

“This proves how flimsy Collins’ pro-Roe position is,” wrote Brian Fallon of Demand Justice, a group working to organize resistance to potential nominees who might rule to end abortion rights, in a post to Twitter. “She is perfectly happy to let herself be suckered based on phony assurances about ‘precedent.’”

Watch video of Collins’ appearance on This Week below.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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