Democrats target Susan Collins in campaign against Supreme Court nominee

In this Feb. 15, 2018, image, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, left, are shown throughout a press conference at the Capitol in Washington. The Senate battle over Donald Trump's brand-new Supreme Court nominee is off to a fiery start _ even before the president makes his option. Republican politician and Democratic leaders traded allegations and barbed remarks Thursday on the brand-new job, abortion rights and the debate to come. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON-- Liberal political strategists hope to obstruct President Donald Trump's next Supreme Court candidate by replaying a method they utilized to help beat the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act last year.The multimillion-dollar strategy of advertising and grass-roots activism will focus greatly on persuading 2 Republican protectors of the ACA, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska )and Susan Collins (Maine), to buck the president once again by rejecting his very first choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Trump prepares to reveal his choice Monday.One group, Need Justice, plans to introduce a$5

million campaign Thursday with ads in both senators 'states concentrated on the possibility that the next justice will supply the majority vote to permit states to prohibit abortion, overturning the 1973 choice in Roe v. Wade. NARAL Pro-Choice America revealed plans Tuesday to get full-page ads in 4 Maine papers highlighting the concern."We have a specific success with Murkowski and Collins, obviously, in the ACA battle,"said Brad Woodhouse, the executive director of Protect our Care, a liberal umbrella group that did arranging around the fights in 2017 over exactly what had been President Barack Obama's signature legal accomplishment."So we sort of understand how to do the work in those states."Republican politicians have 51 votes in the Senate and require 50 votes to verify Trump's candidate, assuming Vice President Mike Pence votes with them to break a tie. If Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., does not go back to vote after months of absence battling cancer and Democrats hold together in opposition, a single Republican defection might sink the nominee.The advertising and arranging effort will face a big counterattack from conservative groups. The Judicial Crisis Network has promised to undertake its own marketing campaign, concentrating on Democratic senators in states that Trump won in 2016 who are dealing with reelection in the fall. The group spent about $10 million in an effort to alleviate the verification of Trump's first Supreme Court choice, Neil Gorsuch, and has not yet revealed a spending plan for a 2nd candidate."I believe it will not be a simple one for Democrats in those states to just say,'I am going to tack hard left,'"stated Carrie Severino, the primary counsel and policy director of the group."We are not attacking Collins and Murkowski at all. They were supportive of Gorsuch and we believe they will be supportive here."The Democrats' targets consist of Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, all whom voted for Gorsuch.The liberal technique, which uses several team member in each state, will include producing letters

to the editor, sending out people to the senators' events and arranging telephone call to their offices.The groups plan to argue that any Trump nominee from his preselected list would be a vote on the high court

that will again permit abortion to be disallowed in every state and undo the ACA's mandate that health insurers not victimize people with pre-existing conditions." We have actually had support in the past from Senators Collins and Murkowski around the defunding of Planned Parenthood, around the defense of Roe v. Wade, and we think that is a very important piece of this puzzle, "said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood.The liberal groups also plan to focus marketing and arranging on the states of the 3 Democratic senators who voted for Gorsuch. All three come from states where opposition to abortion is strong, and all face difficult reelection fights this fall.Liberals hope that concern about the ACA proves decisive with these senators. Need Justice, an umbrella group that consists of prepared Being a parent and NARAL, will begin airing ads Tuesday in all 3 of those states, arguing that Trump's choice will determine whether insurance companies can discriminate versus individuals with preexisting medical conditions.The Justice Department signed up with a federal lawsuit in June to argue that the

current legal repeal of the ACA's private required revokes provisions of the law that ban insurers from charging more or rejecting coverage to people with preexisting conditions. That case might eventually reach the Supreme Court, where the last decision to let ACA stand, in 2012, began a 5-to-4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. joining more liberal justices to secure the law.One Nation, the public policy arm of the main Republican Senate advertising effort, Senate Majority PAC, also has announced plans to run spots against vulnerable Democratic senators in states that Trump won, though no budget plan has actually been revealed."Will Joe Donnelly cavern to the severe left?"ran the tagline of one digital ad that One Nation published last week.Antiabortion groups also plan to organize in essential states to pressure Democratic senators. The Susan B. Anthony List has 104 canvassers in Indiana, who have been going door to door to arrange opposition to Donnelly."The pro-life motion is strongest when we are speaking with them one-to-one, "stated Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for the group.Donnelly, who opposes abortion other than in cases of rape, incest or to conserve the life of the mother, told the Indianapolis Star that it was prematurely to say how he would vote on the nominee, while decreasing to say whether Roe needs to be reversed."It's the law of the land,

"he stated last week.Manchin, who opposes abortion with the very same exceptions as Donnelly, recommended in a radio interview Friday that Trump should prevent choosing a justice who will reverse Roe. "If he picks someone that's hardcore on Roe v. Wade or that hardcore on repealing health care, that's a bigger lift," Manchin said.Heitkamp, who has argued that reproductive decisions need to be left to

a lady, her household and her medical professional, does support a ban on federal funding of abortion. And she stated she wishes to do a" extensive vetting"of the president's candidate before making a decision.At the core of the liberal argument is the idea that any of the president's nominees

will be tainted if they originate from a list he announced during the project. Trump likewise announced throughout the campaign that if he put 2 or 3 justices on the court, an overturn of Roe"will happen instantly, in my viewpoint. ""Our point to Susan Collins is stop walking around and pretending that there is some magic question

that is going to offer you genuine reassurance [that the candidate will safeguard Roe], "stated Brian Fallon, who is leading Need Justice."If they came from the list, it's fruit of the dangerous tree."Collins has recommended that she has a different view."I would not support a nominee who

demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade," she told CNN's "State of the Union"on Sunday. She also has actually said she has actually not ruled out ballot for someone from Trump's list, saying that although there are some she would not support, she first wants to hear their views on promoting precedent.During the dispute last year over the ACA, Collins made clear her objections to obstructing federal funds for Planned Parenthood, which other Republicans had actually placed as part of an effort to damage the organization, a major service provider of abortion services.Murkowski likewise stated she was devoted to safeguarding continued funding of the group. Considering that Kennedy revealed his retirement, she has required "exacting scrutiny" of his replacement."His retirement is a historical moment

for the court due to the fact that he was the swing vote in numerous decisions of great repercussion," she said in a statement.The battle for the favor of private senators will happen amid a much wider effort by Democrats and Republicans alike to stimulate voters around the verification procedure for the candidate. The Alliance for Justice, a liberal group that focuses on Supreme Court election fights and vetting, prepares to raise the nominee's record on federal regulatory law as part of an effort to raise civil liberties, labor and environmental issues.Underlying all of it is an awareness that the political environment is combustible and unforeseeable. Nan Aron, the creator and president of the Alliance for Justice,

cited past court candidate fights as explanatory, keeping in mind that effective opposition to conservative Supreme Court candidate Robert Bork in 1987 led to the visit of a moderate Kennedy."Everybody understands what is at stake this time, "she said."As the fight to save the ACA demonstrated, when individuals are galvanized enough to press Democrats and Republicans, you can have an effect."

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