Collins: Candidate Who Would Overturn Roe v. Wade 'Would Not Be Acceptable To Me'

Jul 3, 2018

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday that she would not support a Supreme Court nominee who would overturn the court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

Collins made the remarks on ABC's "This Week," saying that Roe v. Wade "has been established as a constitutional right," and respect for precedent is one of her top criteria for considering whomever President Trump nominates to fill retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy's seat.

"A candidate for this important 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," she told host Martha Raddatz. "And that would indicate to me a failure to respect precedent, a fundamental tenant of our judicial system."

Collins, a Republican, has consistently supported abortion rights, and she was among a group of senators President Trump invited to the White House Thursday to discuss the court vacancy.  Collins, and fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, are considered crucial swing votes on the issue.

Collins said that Trump told her at the meeting that he would not ask a nominee's position on overturning Roe v. Wade.  Collins said she asked Trump to "broaden" his list of potential candidates for the post, but declined to divulge other details of her "private" conversation with the president.

Collins also weighed in on President Trump's immigration policies, which sparked a large demonstration Saturday in Portland, and massive rallies in cities across the nation.  She told Raddatz she plans to continue pressuring U.S. Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen to more quickly reunite children with their parents, saying separating families is "simply inconsistent with American values."

This story was originally published July 1, 2018 at 10:22 a.m. ET.