Supreme Court looms large over Senate debate Monday night
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WABI) - Monday TV5 partnered with our sister station in Aroostook County, WAGM, to host a Senatorial Debate.
4 Candidates, Republican incumbent Susan Collins, Democratic Challenger Sara Gideon and Independents Max Linn and Lisa Savage all took to the stage.
The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Trump’s announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as his choice to fill the opening made the high court loom large over the evening.
“I think one of the worst ideas for trying to make the Supreme Court less political is to pack the court,” said Collins Monday night. “As the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said nine is a good number.”
“What we have to focus on is how we get back to a judiciary that is independent once again,” said Gideon. “Now we are in the middle of a pandemic and one week after election day we are going to see the Supreme Court pick up the affordable care act and take potentially healthcare away from Americans we need to do better.”
“I am the only one up here supporting President Trump number one and number two supporting his appointment,” said Linn. “This happens with all administrations, we know that. We saw with Barack Obama when he appointed someone the Republicans complained. I would’ve supported that nominee. I always support the president’s nominee.”
“I do favor term limits for the Supreme Court,” said Savage. “That is a reform that would make sense. When the Supreme Court was created with lifetime appointments the average lifespan of Americans was 39 years old. It’s now 79 years old. I think we should take that into account.”
During the rebuttal time allowed Collins and Gideon took issue with each others opening remarks.
“First of all let me point out that Sara once again did not truthfully state what has happened,” said Senator Collins. “I have a opposed some of President Trump’s judicial nominees.”
“Let’s be clear, what I said was that in the first two years of President Trump’s presidency Senator Collins voted for every single nominee totalling 181 today,” said Gideon.
Throughout the evening an outspoken Max Linn tried to appeal to voters, twice cutting face masks in protest.
“I want to make a protest against the government, too much government intrusion and cut these masks,” he said.
In the past Collins had been on the record saying she was in favor of term limits, but has over the years had a change of heart, as she runs for another term..
“I have learned in the Senate just how important seniority is,” she said. “It has given me the clout to help communities throughout our state.”
Maine will use Ranked Choice Voting in this election. With Collins and Gideon leading in the polls Savage and Linn were asked if they thought they would hurt the candidates they most closely align with by siphoning off votes.
“I’m not at all concerned about taking votes away from Sara Gideon in a Rank Choice Voting election,” she said. “Rank Choice Voting allows the voters to express the values that they hold rather than make a negative vote against a candidate that they don’t want they can choose the candidate the best speaks to their values and what they’d like to see as their first ranking without any fear of splitting the election and then going to the candidate next closest that is next closest.”
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