Monday, July 9, 2018

Susan, About That Precedent Thing

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), the dowager senator* from Maine, has said that she won't support a Supreme Court nominee who might overturn Roe v. Wade.

From her interview a week ago on ABC's This Week:
“It has been established as a constitutional right for 46 years — 45 years, and was reaffirmed 26 years ago,” Collins said. “So a nominee position, whether or not they respect precedent, will tell me a lot about whether or not they would overturn Roe v. Wade. A candidate of this import position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me, because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have. And that would indicate to me a failure to respect precedent of fundamental tenet of our judicial system.”
This leads me to wonder whether Collins would have supported a nominee of a President Hillary Clinton who supported abortion but was committed to overturning both Heller and McDonald. I would be hard pressed to argue that she would not have.

My point in not to argue one way or another on abortion but I have watched numerous judges at both the District Court and Court of Appeals level who have thumbed their nose at Heller and McDonald in the ten and eight years respectively since they've been decided. You could put most judges in the 4th and 9th Circuits on that list. Moreover, the right to privacy was a right that was created out of whole cloth unlike the right to keep and bear arms which is an enumerated right found in the Bill of Rights.

Whomever President Trump announces as his nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy will presumably respect precedent. I just hope that her or she will have the gumption to say no to the lower courts who have ignored the precedent supposedly established in Heller and McDonald.

* I call Collins the dowager senator because she essentially inherited the position from former Sen. William Cohen whom she had served as a staffer early in her career.


  1. Precedent can be a strange thing. The Dred Scott decision was precedent for a time, as was Plessy v. Ferguson. For that matter, slavery was the law of the land in the United States for nearly the first century of America's existence.
    It is sad that our country has devolved into a partisan nation whose political elite are more concerned with their pet legal hobby horses than with fidelity to the constitution and to ensuring freedom for the people who live under said constitution.
    I am guessing that the election of Donald Trump could prove to be a turning point for the country, if he prevails and succeeds with the changes that he was elected to bring about. That would mean that the will of the people is indeed all powerful, and the politicians must either listen to them, or pack their bags and prepare to head home.

  2. She would not have supported overturning 2nd Amendment cases because we here in Maine are now organized and aware, after Mike Bloomburg's failed universal background check effort. We will tolerate no backsliding, and hope to send Angus King into retirement at the first opportunity.

  3. How surprising. A political is all for precedence when a standing ruling favors their narrative. This seems just like howling about state's rights governing their pet position, ignoring federalism, but then failing to use the same logic when the issue isn't in their favor.

    John, thanks for the SCOTUS nominee rundown. I took a stab at it myself; your summaries were far better.

  4. So, tell us how you feel, Susan, about some other precedents: Korematsu, Plessy v. Fergusson, Dred Scott v. Stanford....

    After all, you believe in Stare decisis

  5. My (unfortunately) Senator collins was making positive comments about Kavanaugh in local news reports, so if she can just hold that pose! I thing McCains positive support will help to keep her on board.. we can hope!

    1. DamDoc,
      You get no sympathy from me. I have the always ridiculous Debbie Stabenow. She has never met a tax increase she didn't like.
      She always votes with the Democratic block, I can't remember a time when she had the guts to vote against her party. I have written to her about the 2nd amendment, and asked her to vote a certain way in support of our rights. I have gotten the same form letter at least 5 times, and now, I am on her mailing list asking for money to help keep abortions and to get rid of assault weapons. I thought What the He--? But then I realized, I cannot hold her accountable. She is almost as brain dead as Nancy Pelosi.