Conservatives and liberals are both slamming Susan Collins for being dead wrong about Brett Kavanaugh
Susan Collins, U.S. Senator, (R.-Maine), U.S. Senate speaking at Fortune's Most Powerful Women summit. (Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women)

When Sen. Susan Collins of Maine voted in favor of Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, the pro-choice Republican insisted that he would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and considered the 1973 decision “settled law.” But earlier this year, Kavanaugh showed his anti-abortion leanings when he voted against blocking a draconian anti-abortion law in Louisiana — and conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin is among those who are stressing that Collins was dead wrong about Kavanaugh’s views on abortion.


Rubin, in a May 13 column, argues that Collins allowed herself to be manipulated by Kavanaugh and his supporters and “risked her decades-long reputation as a pro-choice Republican and her prospects for reelection in 2020 by voting to confirm Kavanaugh and spouting the pro-lifers’ line that legal abortion wasn’t really at risk. Collins, of course, was played.”

Reflecting on Kavanaugh’s vote against blocking the Louisiana anti-abortion law, Rubin writes, “We now are seeing the full impact of confirming a justice who could eviscerate Roe. The very type of legislation Kavanaugh defenders claimed were not in the cards was passed in Georgia and is poised to pass in Alabama. State lawmakers are now emboldened to pass laws effectively outlawing abortion with the hope that this Supreme Court will now uphold them.”

Rubin warns that if anti-abortion activists are successful in the Supreme Court, “Collins and other moderate Republicans who voted for Trump appointees will be on the endangered list in 2020 and beyond.” And Rubin is hardly the only abortion rights defender who is slamming Collins for helping to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

After Kavanaugh’s vote against blocking the Louisiana law, Lauren Passalacqua (communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) asserted, “It’s hard to know what’s worse: misleading Mainers and Americans about a Supreme Court justice who just tried to make Roe v. Wade obsolete or raising hundreds of thousands of dollars off the vote. Susan Collins keeps showing Maine families she’s not on their side and why she won’t be reelected if she runs.”

In Maine, the anti-Kavanaugh group Demand Justice has been arguing that Collins deserves to be voted out of office for her pro-Kavanaugh vote. Demand Justice Director Brian Fallon has been stressing that Collins must pay a price politically for Kavanaugh’s votes on abortion, immigration and other issues—saying, “These are all issues that we think will make Collins look like just another politician for having supported Kavanaugh. We will be able to say, ‘I told you so.’”

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean has tweeted that if Collins seeks reelection in 2020, she will have to defend her pro-Kavanaugh vote “because it’s likely Roe will not exist” anymore. Journalist Jeff Greenfield has tweeted that Collins was “either delusional or disingenuous” when she claimed that Kavanaugh would respect abortion rights, and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) asserted that “it only took Kavanaugh four months into his lifetime appointment on the bench to prove that Susan Collins’ insistence that he would respect precedent was a complete lie.”

Rubin concludes her Post column by warning that Collins and others who voted for Kavanaugh will pay a price politically as the anti-abortion agenda moves forward. “Make no mistake,” Rubin warns, “laws like Georgia’s and Alabama’s have severe real world consequences for women — and for our politics.”