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As President Trump gears up to announce his nominee to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, the court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which overturned many state and federal restrictions on abortion rights, is in the spotlight.

The big picture: There's debate about whether the next Supreme Court justice would vote to overturn Roe, given the court's shift to a stronger conservative majority. Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), who is pro-choice and one of the Senate's key swing votes in the SCOTUS confirmation process, told CNN's Jake Tapper that she would not vote for a nominee who "demonstrated hostility" toward the decision.

Trump said he won't ask nominees how they'd vote regarding Roe in an interview with Fox News' Maria Bartiromo. "I'm told I probably shouldn't," he said.

The backdrop:

  • On the campaign trail, Trump suggested he would use Roe as a litmus test for nominees. And Vice President Mike Pence famously declared in 2016 that a Trump win would mean that the decision would be "consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs."
  • Trump met with Collins and Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — all of whom could be a defining vote given their views on abortion and commitment to precedent — as well as red-state Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) at the White House last week to gauge the qualities they're looking for in a potential nominee.
  • Collins told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning that the President assured her he would not ask potential nominees about Roe.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) told Raddatz about the red-state senators: "These are senators who are going to do the right thing. Yes, they have bucked our party time and time again ... They do what they feel is best for their state."

  • She added that Democrats can make a case to hold the confirmation vote until after the midterm elections, just as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did in 2016, blocking President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press" that legal precedent is what matters to him the most on the issue of abortion rights:

"Well, I'm pro-life. And the job of a judge is to call, decide cases before the court. But one of the concepts that really means a lot in America is stare decisis. That means you don't overturn precedent unless there's a good reason. And I would tell my pro-life friends you can be pro-life and conservative, but you can also believe in stare decisis. Roe v. Wade, in many different ways, has been affirmed over the years. But I would hope the justice that sits on the Court, all of them, would listen to the arguments on both sides before they decided. But stare decisis is a well-known concept in our law."

Go deeper: How SCOTUS could start rolling back abortion rights.

Go deeper

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Early winter heat shatters records in U.S., Canada

Temperature departures from average on Dec. 2, 2021, as depicted by the GFS computer model. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread and intense heatwave is roasting large portions of the U.S. and Canada, shattering daily and monthly temperature records.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season across the U.S., and the lingering warmth is shortening the snow season in places like Colorado and Montana, where mountain snowpack is a critical source of water during the summer months.

5 hours ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.