Senators Discuss Abortion Rights as Trump Mulls Supreme Court Pick

Speaking about Kennedy's retirement from the high court, Oliver told Democrats that they were "out of luck" when it came to stopping any Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Trump. On Sunday she told CNN she did not believe Gorsuch would seek to undermine Roe, because Gorsuch had authored a book on judicial precedent.

"Some people on the list I can't support because they have shown disrespect for vital principle of stare decisis", Collins said, referring to the judicial principle that affords strong deference to previous court rulings.

President Donald Trump said Monday that he had spoken with four potential nominees to fill retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's seat earlier in the day, and that he would be meeting with "two or three more" before announcing his nominee in a week.

In the same interview, which was taped Friday at the White House, the president said that he has been advised not to ask potential nominees about where they stand on Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling on abortion.

Collins, a moderate Republican widely seen as a key vote in the upcoming Supreme Court nomination hearing, said she had already ruled out some of the candidates on the list that the White House released in November.

Trump hesitantly added, however, that he's not going to be "so specific with the questions" used to query his SCOTUS pick, and especially not in regards to Roe v. Wade. "I'm actually told that I shouldn't be".

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Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate, and it's even closer because of the absence of ailing Sen.

"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.

But Collins has in the past bucked her party and the president, notably with her opposition in 2017 to Trump's education secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos, and to attempts to repeal Barack Obama's healthcare law. In her view, Roe v. Wade is settled law, and she wanted someone on the court who would respect precedent. "And that's what I want to see in this nominee", she added.

During her confirmation hearings previous year, Senate Democrats were widely criticized for grilling Barrett on her Catholic faith, despite her insistence that she would not "impose" her personal convictions on the law.

The second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of IL, said he'd "like to hear a commitment" that Trump's nominee would respect the Roe precedent. Susan Collins (R-Maine), have also supported upholding Roe v. Wade.

"You don't overturn precedent unless there's a good reason", Graham said during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press". "No one knows what Chief Justice John Roberts would do".

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