Susan Collins says Brett Kavanaugh lied to her about abortion — but Josh Hawley is not buying it

Collins has repeatedly vouched for Kavanaugh, claiming he would not touch abortion

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published May 3, 2022 1:22PM (EDT)

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, suggested on Tuesday that Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh lied to her about their stance on abortion. 

Her comments come just a day after Politico published a leaked copy of the Supreme Court's initial draft majority opinion on Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that enshrined the constitutional right to abortion. The draft strongly indicates that the high court will ultimately rule against the law, rolling back decades of progressive advocacy aimed at expanding abortion across the country.

"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 told NBC News. "Obviously, we won't know each Justice's decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case."

RELATED: Why the right-wing is having a complete meltdown over the Supreme Court's leaked anti-abortion draft

But Collins' own Republican colleague in the Senate, Josh Hawley of Missouri, is not buying her sudden disappointment.

"The justices did exactly what they said they would do," Hawley told reporters on Tuesday when asked about Collins' statement. 

On Monday, following news of the Supreme Court's leaked draft, old videos of Collins quickly surfaced showing the senator expressing full faith in Kavanaugh's alleged unwillingness to overturn Roe. 

"I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh will overturn Roe. v. Wade," Collins told CNN back in 2018, during Kavanaugh's embattled confirmation process. "When I asked him whether it would be sufficient to overturn a long-established precedent if five current justices believed it was wrongly decided, he emphatically said no."

Collins would go on to repeat this claim several times throughout that year, alleging that Kavanaugh, a staunch Catholic, had indicated that he would not touch abortion. 

Even in 2019, after Kavanaugh was the lone dissenter to a majority opinion that blocked the Georgia legislature from curtailing abortion access, Collins stuck to her guns. "To say that this case, this most recent case, in which he wrote a very careful dissent, tells you that he's going to repeal Roe v. Wade I think is absurd," she told CNN at the time. 

Collins is one of the only Republican pro-choice senators in the legislature, apart from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Back in February, Collins and Murkowski introduced a bill that would formally codify Roe v. Wade into U.S. law

RELATED: Senator Collins comes under fire after SCOTUS signals support for restrictive abortion ban

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik was a former staff writer at Salon.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Brett Kavanaugh Brief Gop Civil War Josh Hawley Neil Gorsuch Republicans Senate Supreme Court Susan Collins