Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Tuesday that if a report suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade is accurate, she was misled in her conversations with two justices who had told her that the landmark 1973 abortion ruling was settled law.
On Monday night, Politico published the draft of a leaked majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito in which he states that the court’s decision in the Roe case was “egregiously wrong” and “must be overturned.”
According to Politico, four of the other Republican-appointed justices — Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — voted with Alito in a conference to overturn Roe.
“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 said in a statement. “Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case.”
Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, pro-choice GOP moderates, were among the key votes during the Senate confirmation hearings for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. In explaining her votes to confirm them, Collins said that both judges had assured her that they believed Roe v. Wade was “settled law.”
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Murkowski said it was “shocking” that such an opinion would leak, and if it holds, it would undermine the confidence she has in the court. (Unlike Collins, Murkowski voted against Kavanaugh’s advancement; both supported Gorsuch.)
"Roe is still the law of the land. We don't know the direction that this decision may ultimately take,” Murkowski said. “But if, if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, I would just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now."