Who could have seen this coming? Not Senator Susan Collins.
In a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Sen. Collins expressed her dismay that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh misrepresented their alleged respect for precedent and private conversations with her and in their confirmation hearings.
Sen. Collins had previously expressed her shock and deep concern last month when a draft of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Services decision indicating the justices would likely vote to overturn Roe was leaked to the public. In the intervening time between the leaked decision and the final ruling, Collins seems to have busied herself with forgetting every single warning sign that reproductive rights in this country were at risk. The statement Collins gave at the time is virtually identical to the statement given Friday in response to the final ruling.
“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 stated. “Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case.”
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Collins shock at the time of the draft leak rested on her inability to reconcile the notion that Justice Brett Kavanaugh — with his extremely conservative track record on abortion — would go back on his claim that he would respect the precedent of Roe as a Supreme Court justice.
The Maine senator is the only one shocked by this revelation. In early June two former senior Trump White House officials told Rolling Stone that Collins “wasn’t even considered a serious threat to the devoutly conservative Kavanaugh.” The officials gleefully detailed how they secured Collins confirmation vote for Kavanaugh via vague guarantees about precedent and mocked her gullibility as a “cheap date.”
Collins would continue to defend Kavanaugh well after his confirmation to the court. In 2019 she asserted that Kavanaugh “said under oath many times, as well as to me personally many times, that he considers Roe to be ‘precedent upon precedent’ because it had been reaffirmed in the Casey v. Planned Parenthood case.” When pressed by CNN anchor Jake Tapper on if she thought Justice Gorsuch would support a decision overturning Roe v. Wade Collins replied, “I actually don’t,” citing a “very long discussion with Justice Gorsuch in my office” where he pointed out that “he is a co-author of a whole book on precedent.”
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