Abortion groups already spending money to tear down Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, ads are just the start

DCNFKevin Daley, DCNF

A coalition of pro-choice groups has launched a multi-platform advertising campaign urging moderate Republicans to oppose any Supreme Court nominee who does not publicly commit to protecting Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that announced a constitutional right to abortion.

The budding campaign targets GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, two pro-choice lawmakers who have broken with the party in the past on social issues.

“Americans are firmly opposed to Trump’s agenda of restricting basic rights and freedom of women,” said Faiz Shakir, the American Civil Liberties Union’s national political director. “And for Sens. Collins and Murkowski, who have stood strong against past attempts by politicians to undermine the liberty of women, this is no time to gamble those rights away.”

The ACLU launched a six-figure ad campaign Friday in Maine and Alaska, and will run through the weekend until President Donald Trump announces his nominee to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday night. The ACLU says the campaign will be supplemented by grassroots efforts like email chains and phone banks.

For its part, NARAL Pro-Choice America took out full-page ads in the four largest newspapers in Maine, complemented by digital ads on the newspapers’ websites and other platforms. The ad reminds readers that Trump vowed to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Collins has triangulated carefully on the subject, telling reporters that — by her counting — there are not enough votes on the high court to overturn Roe, even if Kennedy’s seat is filled by an arch-conservative. Nonetheless, the senator says she will not support an anti-Roe nominee.

Murkowski has been more circumspect, though she, like Collins, voted to confirm all three of the reported frontrunners to federal appeals courts.

The ads are just the opening salvos of an aggressive outside effort that will attend the nomination from both sides. Conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity and the Judicial Crisis Network are expected to spend significant sums in support of the nominee.

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