Doug Collins

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins

A U.S. Senate hopeful is putting his support behind the newest Supreme Court nominee.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, the four-term congressman from northeast Georgia, said Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett is “going to make a great [Associate] Justice.”

Senators approve the nomination of all federal judges, including those who serve on the Supreme Court. And in Georgia this year, both Senate seats are up for election on Nov. 3, an unusual turn of events due to the expiration of the current term of Sen. David Perdue and the retirement last year of former Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Collins is one of 21 candidates in the race seeking that seat, now being held by incumbent Sen. Kelly Loeffler. The Times-Georgian reported on a rally Loeffler held Sept. 1 at the Depot on Bradley in downtown Carrollton.

In an interview with the Times-Georgian, Collins acknowledged that the appointment of an Associate Justice during a presidential year will involve “a lot of show and circumstance.”

“But it’s going to be more surrounding the presidential election with the Democrats talking about timing and everything of this appointment,” Collins said. “[Barrett’s] going to be approved before the election day. The president is doing what he should do, that is nominate, and the Senate is doing what they should do, which is confirm.”

He has represented Georgia’s 9th congressional district since 2013 and was a state lawmaker and lawyer prior to his first term.

Collins plans to introduce a constitutional amendment to prohibit changing the number of seats on the Supreme Court for 10 years after any bill is passed to enlarge the court. He said this was in response to the Democrats’ ”emotional response” to Barrett’s nomination.

Collins also discussed with the newspaper a proposed second stimulus package to cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said more financial relief should be directed to industries that have been “hurt the hardest” by the pandemic, such as the hospitality, tourism and food service sectors. He does not, however, support extending unemployment benefits to employees who have been affected by the coronavirus.

“The problem that we’re having right now is that this is not a complete restructuring of government and federal funding to states and localities to fix all the problems with the COVID crisis,” Collins said. “The thing we’re seeing right now, I think needs to be a targeted approach. I do not think unemployment {benefits] needs to be extended. Here in Georgia, that went away, and people started to get back to work.”

He supports providing more healthcare access to rural residents and said health care insurers backed out after the Affordable Care Act was approved. He added that left his constituents and others in many other districts with one choice for an insurance carrier that most doctors would not accept.

If elected, he said he would like to provide residents with a customizable option that allows a monthly payment scale and people to choose what they need in their plans. He also wants to allow states more flexibility in providing more healthcare choices.

“ ‘Obamacare’ did the opposite of what it was supposed to do, and that is open up markets and make it more competitive and allow for more people to have treatment,” Collins said. “You can provide far better options for those under Medicaid if you’re allowing the states to have more flexibility with how they can make coverage. They can do better on the state General Assembly and governor level than we do in Washington.”