Susan Collins hails Ginsburg — but is silent on Trump nominee vote

Moving forward: Ginsburg death leaves vacancy ahead of election

Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram joins ‘Fox News @ Night’ with insight.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Friday night called Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg a “fierce champion for equality” after the news broke of Ginsburg’s death from pancreatic cancer.

But Collins, who faces the fiercest reelection battle of her Senate career, was silent on whether she would support or oppose a vote on Ginsburg’s successor before the presidential election — or the inauguration in January if Democrat Joe Biden were to win the presidency.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer for women’s rights, a fierce champion for equality, and an extremely accomplished American who broke countless barriers in the field of law,” Collins said in a statement. “Throughout her life, Justice Ginsburg surmounted discrimination and sexism through her brilliance, tenacity, and wit, becoming one of the most prominent legal luminaries of our time.”

Collins added that she "had the great honor of getting to know Justice Ginsburg personally when the women Senators twice had dinner with her and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She has been a role model to generations of women, and her legacy will live on in the countless people she inspired.”

Collins, 67, who has served in the Senate since 1997, is among a handful of Republican senators occasionally willing to break rank with her party. So her vote on a Trump nominee to succeed Ginsburg prior to the presidential election could loom large.

Her crucial vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018 angered many progressive women across the country (who opposed his nomination because of sexual assault allegations) — as well as many Mainers who are determined to unseat her.

Recent polls show Collins running around 5 points behind her Democratic challenger Sara Gideon, speaker of Maine's House of Representatives.

It's unclear if voting for a Trump Supreme Court nominee so close to the election would help or hurt Collins' own reelection chances.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Friday that a Trump nominee would get a vote in the Senate — in stark contrast to his previous stance that the next president should appoint Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s successor after Scalia died in early 2016.

The Senate refused a hearing on former President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, and Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed by the Senate shortly after Trump took office in 2017.

Fellow Senate Republican nonconformist Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, prior to hearing about Ginsburg’s death Friday, said she "would not vote" for a new Supreme Court justice before the election.

“We are 50 some days away from an election,” Murkowski said in an interview, according to Alaska Public Media.

A representative for Collins, however, declined twice to give an answer on whether Collins would vote for a Trump nominee, according to the Portland Press Herald in Maine.

Source: Read Full Article