Collins on Roe Ruling: 'I Feel Misled'

GOP senator, Dem Sen. Manchin say Kavanaugh, Gorsuch assured them this wouldn't happen
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2022 9:00 AM CDT
Collins: Roe Ruling 'Inconsistent' With Justices' Assurances
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to reporters on May 4 at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(Newser) As reaction continues to the Supreme Court's landmark decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, two big names in government are expressing their unhappiness about it—partly because they feel personally bamboozled by two of the high court's conservative justices who voted with the majority. "I feel misled," GOP Sen. Susan Collins tells the New York Times of the assurances she says Brett Kavanaugh gave her privately during a two-hour meeting in August 2018, shortly before the Senate confirmation hearings on appointing him to the high court's bench. Collins, who has described herself as being an abortion rights advocate, says she went in hard on Kavanaugh on his feelings about Roe v. Wade as she wrangled with whether she could vote to confirm him.

"Start with my record, my respect for precedent, my belief that it is rooted in the Constitution, and my commitment and its importance to the rule of law," he replied to Collins, per contemporaneous notes that staff members in the meeting took. "I understand precedent and I understand the importance of overturning it." He called himself a "don't-rock-the-boat kind of judge" and added: "Roe is 45 years old, it has been reaffirmed many times, lots of people care about it a great deal, and I've tried to demonstrate I understand real-world consequences." Collins did ultimately vote to confirm Kavanaugh, as did Sen. Joe Manchin, the only Democrat to do so. Both senators also voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch in 2017, who they say made similar insinuations to them, and in his testimony, that he wouldn't break with precedence.

"I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans," Manchin, who the Times notes is anti-abortion himself, says of the two justices, adding he's "deeply disappointed" in them, per NBC News. The West Virginia senator, who's said he doesn't support eliminating the filibuster so that abortion rights can get the votes needed to be codified, indicates he'd still rather reach across the aisle. "I am hopeful Democrats and Republicans will come together to put forward a piece of legislation that would do just that," he said in a statement Friday, per ABC News. He'll likely find a partner in Collins, who added that Friday's Roe ruling was "a sudden and radical jolt to the country" that was "inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me," per a statement to NBC. (Read more Roe v. Wade stories.)

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