Let's be crystal clear here. Supreme Court nominees are not required to answer questions on how they'd rule on specific cases. In fact, they are constrained from doing so, since making that kind of public statement would prejudice an actual case before the Court--that would then require the justice, once approved by the Senate, to recuse him- or herself from the case.
Democrats do not want the next Supreme Court justice to be the deciding vote that overturns, or in any way in the smallest part, weakens the case law of Roe v. Wade, the 45 year old decision legalizing abortion in the U.S. They want a litmus test.
The president should probe his candidates — and apply litmus tests. He and his aides should ask potential nominees to declare themselves on Roe vs. Wade, Citizens United (which struck down limits on campaign contributions as a violation of free speech) and McDonald vs.Chicago (which upheld an individual right to own firearms).
When the Senate asks litmus-type questions, these would elicit very tried and true answers from nominees.
Going back to Judge Robert Bork, the New York Times called for a litmus test on abortion in 1987. Bork, the New Yorker wrote in 2009, "engaged the Judiciary Committee in a substantive discussion of his judicial philosophy, and the Senate, quite properly, voted him down, because of his narrow conception of the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights." That led Sonia Sotomayor, a radical jurist who would invent "rights" out of whole cloth to achieve her liberal ends, to answer in her nomination hearing, when asked about her own judicial philosophy: "Simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make law—it is to apply the law." Gag me with a spoon, as the Valley Girls say.
So now, Democrats, cagey about accusations of "Borking" Trump's nominee, want to apply the shiv but keep the blood off themselves. They've attacked Republican Senator Susan Collins, whose pro-choice position is well known but certainly not in the league of NARAL, or Wendy Davis (aka Abortion Barbie), with Topher Spiro tweeting for people to "set her straight."
Democrats need Sens. Murkowski and Collins to vote against and actively oppose Trump's nominee, but Murkowski never said she'd apply a litmus test.
"My standards for Supreme Court nominees are extremely high," she tweeted. I don't see how Murkowski would vote against a Trump nominee unless, during questioning, they explicitly say they'd vote to overturn Rowe. That shouldn't happen.
Eli Watkins, at CNN, took Maine Senator Lisa Collins statements on the record and interpreted them as a litmus test, though she specifically denied it.
Nevertheless, Collins said Trump told her he would not ask a nominee how he or she would vote on Roe. She went on to say she did not believe Justice Neil Gorsuch, a conservative judge she voted to confirm last year, would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade either.
"I actually don't," she said of Gorsuch joining an opinion overturning Roe. "I had a very long discussion with Justice Gorsuch in my office and he pointed out to me that he is a co-author of a whole book on precedent."
Any Supreme Court nominee should not answer a question on how they'd vote on a case to overturn Rowe v. Wade. There are simply too many avenues for any case appearing before the Court to take. Would it be a case based on states' rights? On personhood? On fetal pain? On the First Amendment? Deciding that Rowe v. Wade is sacrosanct from all legal challenges in advance is not a quality anyone--Democrats included--should want on the Court.
That litmus test is the position of a radical, as bad as one who would say they'd never rule against a Christian because of freedom of conscience. There are situations where a Christian, regardless of the First Amendment, can be wrong (slavery, for example).
The pro-choice media, and Democrats, are being disingenuous, choosing their own litmus tests, while rejecting others, but wanting Republican senators to apply them.