Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is very surprised that the conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court that she helped entrench is on the cusp of killing Roe v. Wade after then-nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh apparently convinced her that they wouldn’t do that.
Collins, one of the few pro-choice Senate Republicans, put out a statement tsk-tsking at the two justices on Tuesday after the leak of a bombshell majority draft opinion revealed that a majority of the conservative justices had voted to strike down Roe. Politico, which first obtained the draft, reported that Justice Samuel Alito had written the opinion after Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, plus Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas, voted in conference after oral arguments in December.
“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,” Collins said in her statement.
The senator dodged when CNN asked if she’d been misled by Kavanaugh.
“My statement speaks for itself,” she replied.
In addition to voting to confirm Gorsuch, who had been tapped by Donald Trump, Collins also cast the deciding vote in Kavanaugh’s controversial appointment to the high court in 2018 in the face of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford’s allegation that he had once sexually assaulted her in high school.
Collins insisted while announcing her vote for Kavanaugh at the time that protecting abortion rights was “important” to her and that, based on her conversations with the then-nominee, Kavanaugh would not overturn Roe.
“His views on honoring precedent would preclude attempts to do by stealth that which one has committed not to do overtly,” the GOP senator said at the time.
The following year, Collins told the New York Times that she fully stood by her decision.
“I do not regret my vote in the least,” she said.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who was the one Republican to vote against Kavanaugh but who voted for Gorsuch, similarly expressed shock over the opinion draft on Tuesday.
“It rocks my confidence in the court right now,” she told reporters.