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U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and appeared on "This Week" after Collins, called Collins' support for Roe v. Wade as settled law and legal precedent "heartening". Collins, who appeared on ABC's "This Week" and CNN's "State of the Union," said she would only back a judge who would show respect for settled law such as the Roe decision, which has always been anathema to conservatives.

Hume said if Trump loses the support of Collins and Murkowski "it's hard to believe" the Republicans would "pick up any Democrats" to achieve a majority confirming the nominee.

When Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court last Wednesday, he did more than just create a historically significant opening on the highest court - he also indirectly upended the way advertising will be prioritized for a large chunk of the final stretch of the 2018 midterm elections.

He has the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican.

Collins, who is among senators being targeted by supporters of abortion rights ahead of the nomination, said in a separate Sunday appearance on ABC's "This Week" that a nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade would signal an "activist agenda" she doesn't want to see in a justice seated on the court.

Four women have served on the Supreme Court, and all four have consistently ruled in favor of the abortion industry. "Academically, in every way", Trump said.

White House counsel Don McGahn, who has been eyeing the White House exits amid tensions with Trump in recent months, will oversee the "selection and overall confirmation process" for the President's second Supreme Court nominee, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, signaling he will remain White House counsel for at least several more months. "And that would indicate to me a failure to respect precedent, a fundamental tenet of our judicial system".

On Sunday, Trump seemed to reaffirm that belief, telling Fox News that abortion "could very well end up with states at some point". Susan Collins of ME said she was not comfortable with everyone he has considered.

Trump has said he is focusing on up to seven potential candidates, including two women, to fill the vacancy being left by Kennedy, a swing vote on the nine-member court. (McCain isn't afraid to buck his own party, but he is mostly in line with his party in opposing abortion rights). Susan Collins, R-Maine, said she would oppose any nominee she believed would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Over the weekend, President Trump told Fox News he would "probably not" ask his nominee about how they would vote on the abortion law.

"You never know how that's going to turn out", Trump said.