Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the dowager senator* from Maine, has said that she won’t support a Supreme Court nominee who might overturn Roe v. Wade.
From her interview a week ago on ABC’s This Week:
“It has been established as a constitutional right for 46 years — 45 years, and was reaffirmed 26 years ago,” Collins said. “So a nominee position, whether or not they respect precedent, will tell me a lot about whether or not they would overturn Roe v. Wade. 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. And that would indicate to me a failure to respect precedent of fundamental tenet of our judicial system.”
This leads me to wonder whether Collins would have supported a nominee of a President Hillary Clinton who supported abortion but was committed to overturning both Heller and McDonald. I would be hard pressed to argue that she would not have.
My point in not to argue one way or another on abortion but I have watched numerous judges at both the District Court and Court of Appeals level who have thumbed their nose at Heller and McDonald in the ten and eight years respectively since they’ve been decided. You could put most judges in the 4th and 9th Circuits on that list. Moreover, the right to privacy was a right that was created out of whole cloth unlike the right to keep and bear arms which is an enumerated right found in the Bill of Rights.
Whomever President Trump announces as his nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy will presumably respect precedent. I just hope that her or she will have the gumption to say no to the lower courts who have ignored the precedent supposedly established in Heller and McDonald.
* I call Collins the dowager senator because she essentially inherited the position from former Sen. William Cohen whom she had served as a staffer early in her career.