U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has staked out the most treacherous turf in the high-stakes battle looming over a new Supreme Court justice – firmly in the middle between two sides that are gearing up for war.

“No matter how I vote, there are going to be people who are furious at me,” Collins told Politico last week.

What that means is that both sides are taking aim at the four-term Republican from Maine, one of a handful of potential swing votes who could decide whether Trump’s selection joins the nation’s highest court.

Collins clearly understands the stakes and the pressure that is going to be exerted on her once Trump backs someone to succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The president plans to name his choice Monday.

“It’s not the assistant deputy secretary for weights and measures at the Commerce Department,” Collins told a reporter. “This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. It matters.”

Though Collins has voted for each of the five Supreme Court nominees to come before the Senate since she took office in 1997 – a group that spans a wide ideological terrain – she this time around has tossed down one criteria on which she will not bend.

In a series of interviews over the weekend, Maine’s senior senator said she would not support Trump’s pick for an open seat on the nine-member court if the nominee is hostile to the 1973 decision that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion.

Collins told ABC that a prospective justice “who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me, because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have.”

In response, conservatives such as Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate, called her a RINO, a Republican in name only, who is “eager to undermine the president.”

The chairman of the College Republican National Committee, Taylor Collins of Iowa, said Collins’ refusal to support a pro-life justice confirms that having an “R” next to your name “doesn’t mean a dang thing when living in the swamp” of Washington.

Democrats are at least as wary.

Janet Harris, an Oregon Democrat, was one of many who mailed wire coat hangers to Collins as a graphic demonstration of what is at stake.

Harris said Monday the 10 hangers she ordered on Amazon should arrive Tuesday at the senator’s Capitol Hill office, “a brutal symbol” of what it could mean for the court to reverse Roe and clamp down on legal abortions.

“There’s nothing subtle about them,” Harris said. “It’s really in-your-face.”

Wire hangers are a symbol of the sorts of self-induced or back alley abortions prevalent in the era before the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Roe case, which recognized a constitutional right to privacy for such intimate medical decisions.

Harris, a former communications director for the pro-choice, Democratic Emily’s List, said that she is not confident Collins will defend abortion rights given her willingness to cave to Republican pressure on many votes in recent times, including a $1.5 trillion tax measure in December.

“Either she’s naive or she thinks we are,” Harris said.

Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, one of the country’s top constitutional law experts, wrote on Twitter that maybe Collins “truly is this naive.”

“Either that, or she’s being disingenuous about her commitment to women’s health and reproductive rights,” Tribe tweeted. “Her constituents and colleagues must call ‘BS’ on her ‘respect for precedent’ dodge. It’s truly empty.”

While partisans parse every word from Collins’ weekend interviews, her own stance is pretty clear and oft-repeated over the years.

She has said on many occasions she will vote for judicial nominees whose careers exemplify that they have the temperament and character for the job. But perhaps even more important for her, based on what Collins has said over the years, is that prospective judges have a respect for precedent and put the law above their own personal beliefs.

It is not clear how Collins would know if a Trump selection for the court would uphold Roe or not.

Since the failed nomination of Robert Bork for the court in 1987, nominees have steered clear of talking about specifics that might come up in a case someday, something that would clearly happen with the abortion issue. It is considered unlikely at best that a nominee will discuss abortion law or answer questions about it.

Collins said it would be inappropriate for a senator even to ask directly.

Collins, then, would have to base her judgment on whether a nominee might overturn Roe on whatever clues can be discerned from the person’s past.

Annie Clark, Collins’ communications director, said Collins will conduct a rigorous review of the nominee’s record. Whether anything will clarify the judicial hopeful’s stance on abortion is unclear.

Collins said a nominee could be personally opposed to abortion as long as those views were accompanied by a humble respect for long-standing precedent. In short, Collins is going to require some proof of demonstrated anti-abortion bias before she opposes a nominee.

For liberal activists, the fact that someone is selected by Trump – who has vowed to pick judges who will torpedo Roe – is enough to be wary. Harris, for instance, said she does not think abortion rights adherents can trust Collins.

For Harris, it is obvious the court pick process is going to be a fight.

“It’s time to take the gloves off,” she said.

Harris said she understands it will not be an easy struggle to win, given the Republicans’ hold on the Senate. It does not help that a few Democratic senators from conservative-leaning states are on the ballot in November, she added, because they may feel too vulnerable to side with Democrats.

“They’re kind of in a lose-lose situation,” she said.

Collins told The New York Times that by the time the battle ends, some will view her as a hero and others as a villain.

“I’m sure I will be both,” the senator said.

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