Sen. Collins breaks with GOP on Trump SCOTUS pick amid tough re-election bid

The sad news of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has resulted in an even tougher re-election campaign for some Senate Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

Amid a tough bid against longtime Democratic state Rep. Sarah Gideon, Collins has announced her decision not to support a vote for President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy left by Ginsburg’s death, as the Washington Examiner reported.

“Far-right judicial nominees”

The senator is seeking her fifth term and is increasingly struggling in the polls. While her popularity among Trump supporters has waned throughout his first term, she also received criticism from the other side of the aisle for her 2018 vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court following unproven allegations of sexual misconduct.

Every Republican in the Senate faces potential political ramifications for his or her vote on Trump’s nominee amid a presidential primary, with several facing charges of hypocrisy for opposing a vote for then-President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia during the 2016 election cycle.

Collins, however, is considered among the most vulnerable. Even as a host of conservatives criticize her inconsistent support for the Trump administration, Gideon is attacking her over her record on judicial appointments.

“Senator Collins has voted to confirm over 180 of Donald Trump’s unqualified, far-right judicial nominees,” Gideon tweeted this week. “Mainers deserve a senator who will stand up for their rights—and that’s why we have to win this race.”

Although Collins’ remarks on Ginsburg’s replacement appears to be an objection to holding a vote until the election is over, the Associated Press noted that she worded her statement in such a way that she could theoretically still support a nominee if one is put forward.

“Wage war on the rulebook”

If her stance on this issue costs her another term in the Senate, there could be far-reaching consequences for two branches of government.

Along with any combination of several vulnerable Republican seats, a Collins loss could ultimately cost her party its current control of the chamber. Some influential Democrats already clamoring for fundamental changes such as getting rid of the filibuster if the party regains a majority, a change that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said would “disfigure” the Senate.

“Today’s Democrats have lost patience with playing by the rules and want to wage war on the rulebook itself,” McConnell said.

Furthermore, losing a majority would prevent Republican senators from easily confirming conservative judges to federal court vacancies if Trump is re-elected. By the end of his first term, as many as 300 such nominees are expected to have been confirmed by the Senate.

Collins and many of her colleagues have some tough choices to make. Republican voters across the nation are hoping they are able to successfully navigate the treacherous political terrain.

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