Crown Politics

Anthony Kennedy’s retirement intensifies spotlight on Susan Collins

Good morning from Augusta. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his impending retirement on Wednesday, giving President Donald Trump his second high court pick and putting U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in the middle of the debate.

Democrats can’t do much to stop Republicans from appointing a replacement before the November midterm elections. In the big picture, Trump — who released an updated shortlist of potential appointees in 2017 — and fellow Republicans are seen as being overwhelmingly likely to get a conservative justice appointed.

The president got 54 votes in the Senate — more than he needed — to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to the court last year. That came after Democrats tried to block the nomination. Senate Republicans then suspended the chamber’s rules to get rid of the 60-vote filibuster threshold, allowing Gorsuch to be confirmed along party lines. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Maine Republican, backed her party through that process and voted to confirm Gorsuch.

While Collins and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski are the moderate Republicans to watch on this vote, three red-state Democrats — Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia — voted for Gorsuch and are up for tough re-election races this year. This could simply be a 2017 repeat.

To read the rest of “Anthony Kennedy’s retirement intensifies spotlight on Susan Collins,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer , please follow this link to the BDN online.

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