Senator Susan Collins has preemptively made up her mind about whomever President Trump chooses to be his Supreme Court Justice nominee. The senator, who is facing a tough reelection in Maine, said that the vote is too close to an election, and therefore, will vote “no” regardless of the choice.
Collins told reporters, “My statement was a model of clarity…I made it very clear, yes, that I did not think there should be a vote prior to the election. And if there is one, I would oppose the nominee.”
The senator from Maine is basing her decision off of precedent. She said that because the Senate did not vote for Merrick Garland in 2016, she would not do the same for President Trump.
Collins said that while she did not agree with the Senate blocking Garland”s vote, her decision had no consequence. She continued, “The decision was made not to proceed, a decision that I disagreed with, but my position did not prevail. I now think we need to play by the same rules.”
Senator Collins is on the short-list of Senate Democrats who hope Republicans will vote “no” for the Supreme Court Justice. Today, Mitt Romney said that he will vote, as the Constitution gives President Trump the right to appoint Supreme Court Justices, and the Senate has the right to confirm them.
But Collins, who counts on Independents and Democrats helping her keep her Senate seat, knows she needs to lean towards the other side of the aisle if she wants to keep her position of power. While Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is banking on his Republican majority to secure a conservative judge of the bench, Collins decision proves to be an obstacle before the election.
Why this matters: Collins is the lone Republican senator from the New England states, and knows it. Her election is a tough one, and aligning herself with President Trump would be her downfall. It is a perfect example of a senator putting her own seat before her party, because if the Senate wants to keep the majority, they need her.