Focus on coming Supreme Court nomination turns to Murkowski, Collins

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins R-Maine will not apply an ideological litmus test to the next Supreme Court nominee her spokesperson said Thursday

Speaking earlier in the day in Wisconsin, Trump said: "We're going to pick ourselves one great United States Supreme Court justice to take the place of a great man". Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said today Republicans will support anyone from the president's list of 25 names. The president also spoke to "more than a dozen" other senators by phone on Thursday, Sanders said.

About a week before the presidential address, Ivanka Trump had paid a visit to the Supreme Court as a guest of Justice Kennedy.

Sen. Susan Collins of ME will not apply an ideological litmus test to the next Supreme Court nominee, her spokeswoman said Thursday.

At the behest of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Democrats in 2013 invoked the nuclear option - voting along party lines to end the filibuster for executive and judicial nominees below the U.S. Supreme Court.

In announcing Kennedy's retirement this week, Trump said he would start the effort to replace him "immediately" and would pick from a list of 25 names that he updated past year. "You can sort of put your blinders on and say 'I can't be certain what this person is gong to do, ' but in reality you are beyond question casting a voice that could determine whether the right to chose disappears", he told the Press Herald.

He co-authored the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision trimming Roe slightly but reaffirming the abortion right, and in 2016 he voted to strike down Texas abortion clinic regulations in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.

The other senator who met with Trump, Republican Charles Grassley, is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will consider any Trump choice.

Republicans, well aware that Democrats will try to pin down Trump's pick on contentious issues, are already making the case that any nominee should abide by the standard Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg used during her 1993 hearings: To give "no hints, no forecasts, no previews" on how they might rule. Dean Heller, Nev., the most politically vulnerable Senate Republican on the ballot this fall.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said a "woman's right to control her own destiny hangs in the balance".

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"They're smart and tapped into the conservative legal community", he said. "It will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination". The most recent nonpartisan survey to ask whether the procedure should be legal in all or most cases is a Public Religion Research Institute poll in March, which found 54 percent of respondents saying that abortion should be legal in most or all cases vs. 43 percent saying it should be illegal in most or all cases.

Leo said Trump was "committed to a full-throttle process" that includes meeting with several top contenders.

Abortion rights supporters have seen Collins - the most moderate member of the Republican Senate caucus - as crucial to their hopes of blocking a nominee who does not pledge to support Roe v. Wade, as the senator has been a champion of women's reproductive rights.

"I don't know how we got so wedded to that list".

Marc Short, the White House's director of legislative affairs, noted that he, Pence and White House counsel Donald McGahn had met with Collins, Murkowski and swing Democrats such as Sens. Joe Donnelly, Ind., and Joe Manchin III, W.Va., as they considered Gorsuch a year ago.

"What do you think?" "Stay tuned on the specifics".

Sen. Susan Collins of ME, above on Capitol Hill in April, and Alaska Sen.

People familiar with the selection process said the front- runners on Trump's list at this point are all current federal appeals court judges: Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals; Thomas Hardiman, who serves on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Raymond Kethledge of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Amul Thapar, whom Trump named to the 6th Circuit; and Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump named to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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