Maine's Republican senator, Susan Collins, told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she would not support a nominee for the Supreme Court who is "hostile" to the landmark abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade.
Collins bizarrely claimed that believing a decision which held that an amorphous "right to privacy" in procreation is hidden somewhere in the Bill of Rights' "penumbras and emanations" could be overturned demonstrates a lack of respect" for "established decisions, established law."
"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," Collins said.
She also spoke candidly about a recent meeting she had with President Trump where she reportedly laid out her personal requirements for an "acceptable" Supreme Court justice.
"The President really was soliciting my views on the type of nominee that I was looking for," Collins claimed. "I emphasized that I wanted a nominee who would respect precedent, a fundamental tenet of our judicial system."
But lest an observer believe that Collins is caving to reproductive rights activists who of late have undertaken a campaign to flood her Congressional office with wire coat hangers, Collins ended with a caveat: she will not use any litmus test that two of the most recent Republican nominees to the Supreme Court — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch — couldn't themselves pass.
"I had a very long discussion with Justice Gorsuch in my office and he pointed out to me that he is a co-author of a whole book on precedent," Collins told CNN, adding that, "Roe v. Wade is a constitutional right that is well established, and no less an authority than Chief Justice Roberts said that repeatedly at his confirmation hearing."
The problem with Collin's reasoning is that Roe v. Wade has already been gutted by successive cases, like Planned Parenthood v. Casey, robbing it of its (not-actually-real) status as a "super-precedent" outside the Court's consideration. And neither Roberts nor Gorsuch is at liberty to express their true thoughts on any single case that could come before the Court; Justices Roberts and Gorsuch would be forced to recuse themselves from any abortion rights case if they reveal to Congress how they'd rule on an appeal to Roe.
Collins seems to be trying to play both sides: appear willing to consider a conservative justice, for the sake of her Republican colleagues, but unwilling to step on the toes of abortion rights activists who see her as their last best hope.