Updated May 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Collins says Kavanaugh and Gorsuch possibly broke promise on Roe v. Wade

Picture of Susan Collins

Photo: Greg Nash - Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday reacted to the Supreme Court leaked draft document, saying that if it is "accurate," it is inconsistent with discussions she had with Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Driving the news: "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. Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case," Collins said in a statement.

  • Collins is one of the few Republicans who supports abortion rights

The big picture: While meeting with Gorsuch and Kavanaugh ahead of their respective confirmation hearings, Collins said that the then-nominees would not overturn the Supreme Court's precedents protecting abortion access in the U.S.

  • Collins told CNN at the time that after meeting with Gorsuch, she was assured that he understood the importance of precedent and therefore would not move to get rid of Roe v. Wade.
  • When Kavanaugh, another Trump-appointee, met with her in 2018, Collins said that he told her that he agrees with Chief Justice John Roberts in that Roe is "settled law," per The Washington Post.

Catch up fast: Politico published a leaked document on Monday reportedly authored by Justice Samuel Alito in February that shows that the court is prepared to get rid of its precedents protecting abortion rights in the country.

  • "Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives," the document says.
  • The document is related to Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case challenging a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks — before the viability line established by the Supreme Court's precedents, which is at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Don't forget: During his administration, Trump insisted that he would focus on appointing justices who would overturn Roe.

  • He nominated Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Justice Amy Coney Barrett — who each may have signed on to a draft opinion to overturn Roe, according to Politico.

Between the lines: Collins was also one of three Republican senators to vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to a seat on the high court.

  • Jackson said during her confirmation hearings that she agreed with both Barrett and Kavanaugh when they said that Roe is considered "settled law."

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Editor's note: This is a developing story and has been updated throughout.

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