Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a self-styled moderate who postures as a defender of reproductive rights, has said repeatedly in recent years that she would not support a Supreme Court nominee who demonstrates “hostility” to Roe v. Wade.
But late Monday, “Politico” reported that right-wing Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — Trump picks who Collins voted to confirm — supported a 67-page draft opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito that, if finalized, would spell the end of Roe v. Wade and imperil abortion rights across the United States.
While abortion rights advocates, citing the judges’ records, vocally warned at the time of their confirmation hearings that both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh posed an existential threat to Roe, Collins brushed such warnings aside when it came time to usher them through the Senate, pointing to their private assurances to her that they would not vote to overturn the 1973 decision.
In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Collins finally conceded that, perhaps, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were not being fully honest with her in their closed-door conversations about Roe.
“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. “Obviously, we won’t know each justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case.”
Asked if she believes she was misled by the judges, Collins told CNN, “My statement speaks for itself.”
Marie Follayttar, executive director of Mainers for Responsible Leadership — a group that has long targeted Collins over her right-wing voting record — told “Common Dreams” that it “looks like it’s time for her to call for impeachment” of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.
“If Senator Collins believes that both Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh lied to her and to the public during the confirmation processes, we demand that she lead the charge calling for their immediate impeachment,” Follayttar added. “We cannot let public trust in our judicial system — the final check and balance of our democracy — become eroded.”
Indivisible, a national progressive advocacy group, quipped in response to Collins’ statement, “If only there had been some warning signs about Kavanaugh’s dishonesty.”
After “Politico” published its story on Alito’s far-reaching draft opinion — which the Supreme Court confirmed as authentic on Tuesday while stressing that it’s not final — a video compilation resurfaced of Collins declaring on multiple occasions in 2018 her belief that Kavanaugh would not vote to overturn Roe:
“The Daily Beast’s” Eleanor Clift argued in a column Tuesday that “the one person most responsible for the looming loss of abortion rights—aside from the president who appointed three anti-Roe justices — is Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who in October of 2018 became the 50th and deciding vote in the Senate for Brett Kavanaugh.”
“He would not have been confirmed if it weren’t for Collins, who wanted women to believe as she did that he would keep his word to her,” Clift wrote. “Maybe his fingers were crossed because whatever he said to Collins, it was a lie. Kavanaugh’s confirmation on a bare 50 to 48 vote was the beginning of the end for Roe v. Wade, and everybody knew it except maybe Collins.”
“Susan Collins told the women of America that they could trust her to protect their reproductive freedom,” Clift added. “She let us down.”