Susan Collins, who voted for Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, suggests Supreme Court justices misled her

Back in 2018, Collins promised America that Justice Kavanaugh wouldn't touch abortion. Friday proved her wrong

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published June 24, 2022 2:12PM (EDT)

Brett Kavanaugh and Susan Collins (Getty Images/Salon)
Brett Kavanaugh and Susan Collins (Getty Images/Salon)

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on Friday suggested that conservative Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch broke a promise they made to her after both ruled in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, the watershed 1973 ruling enshrining America's constitutional right to abortion.

"This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents," she told CNN. 

She also added that "throwing out a precedent overnight that the country has relied upon for half a century is not conservative. It is a sudden and radical jolt to the country that will lead to political chas, anger, and a further loss of confidence in our government."

RELATED: Susan Collins goes full MAGA on abortion

Back in 2018, during the Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings, Collins said she believed the justice would not touch abortion. "I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh will overturn Roe v. Wade," she told CNN. "He said it should be extremely rare that it be overturned.

Friday, however, proved Collins dead wrong on this point, with Kavanaugh joining the court's conservative wing in reversing the landmark decision. 

In his concurring opinion, Kavanaugh wrote this week that "a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in American history and tradition."

"Adherence to precedent is the norm, and stare decisis imposes a high bar before this Court may overrule a precedent," he added. "This Court's history shows, however, that stare decisis is not absolute, and indeed cannot be absolute."

Collins' apparent confusion around the court's latest overture echoes remarks made by Sen. Joe Manchin, R-W.Va., who on Friday similarly implied that both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch broke his trust. 

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

"I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans," he said in a statement, according to HuffPost.

Collins is one of two Republicans in the Senate, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who identify as pro-choice. Still, both senators recently voted against legislation that would have enshrined the right to abortion in law, claiming it would expand abortion rights beyond they have deemed acceptable.

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik was a former staff writer at Salon.

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Brett Kavanaugh Brief Neil Gorsuch Scotus Supreme Court Susan Collins