Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Sunday that President Biden’s campaign promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court “helped politicize the entire nomination process” as opposed to when two of his Republican predecessors, former Presidents Trump and Reagan, vowed to nominate women to the high court during their tenures.
Collins said on ABC’s “This Week” that she would “welcome the appointment of a black female to the court” but said the way Biden has approached the nomination has been “clumsy at best.”
“It adds to the further perception that the court is a political institution like Congress when it is not supposed to be. So I certainly am open to whomever he decides to nominate. My job as a senator is to evaluate the qualifications of that person under the advice and consent role,” Collins said.
Host George Stephanopoulos, however, pointed out that both Trump and Reagan vowed to nominate female justices to the court and questioned Collins on what was different between those pledges and Biden’s.
“You say that it’s clumsy, but isn’t it. … Isn’t it exactly what President Reagan did when he said he would appoint a woman to the Supreme Court? Isn’t it exactly what President Trump did when he said he would appoint a woman to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Actually, it isn’t exactly the same,” Collins replied. “I’ve looked at what was done in both cases and what President Biden did was, as a candidate, make this pledge, and that helped politicize the entire nomination process.”
“What President Reagan said is as one of his Supreme Court justices, he would like to appoint a woman, and he appointed a highly qualified one in Sandra Day O’Connor,” Collins added.
During his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden pledged to nominate the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. When Justice Stephen Breyer confirmed his retirement last week, Biden reaffirmed that pledge.