BATAVIA, N.Y. — Prior to the president's announcement of Brett Kavanaugh as his nomination to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, Republican Congressman Collins said he expects the choice to have lasting implications.
"It's a legacy no other president has and President Trump will have gotten that opportunity in his first two years as our president," said Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY-27.
But Collins doesn't expect the coming weeks and months to be an easy process for his colleagues in the Senate as they set forth to vet and confirm the nominee. With Senator John McCain dealing with health issues and not expected to vote, Republicans hold a 50-49 voting edge although three Democrats approved Trump's last nomination Neil Gorsuch.
"I wouldn't be too surprised if those three Democrats would vote again for whichever pick Trump has so if we lost, which we hope we don't, a couple of senators on the Republican side, that confirmation would still go through," Collins said.
The congressman said tough questions can be expected during the vetting process, however litmus test questions about how the judge would rule on specific cases, like Roe V. Wade for instance, are not appropriate.
"They can look at the judicial record of these judges and make their own determination. I also don't think that's a vote that would even come up," he said.
Collins credited last year's appointment of Gorsuch for a series of decisions that have swayed conservative and says the latest justice will ensure a "constitutional conservative" bench for the next three to four decades. One of those came late last month with Janus v. AFSCME in which the court decided public-sector unions could not collect fees from non-consenting employees.
"I agree with the Supreme Court ruling. It was a 5-4 ruling that frankly would've gone the other way if Hillary Clinton had been elected so thank God Donald Trump was elected," he said.
Labor leaders have called the decision as well as new administration guidelines, which went into place Monday, an attack on collective bargaining. Collins disagreed.
"It's ending their free ride," he said. "It's recognizing free speech and all the unions need to do to succeed is convince their members that they're actually getting a service, a product and assistance that is justified by the dues they're paying."