Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, says she opposes the Supreme Court’s decision to leave in place a Texas law banning nearly all abortions — a stance that tosses her back into the spotlight for her 2018 confirmation support of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
In a statement Thursday to Forbes, Collins said the Texas law, which bans abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, is “extreme and harmful.”
But she also noted the majority opinion by the Supreme Court’s five most conservative justices does not address the law’s constitutionality – rather, it said it was too soon to tell if the state “can or will seek to enforce the Texas law… in a manner that might permit our intervention,” Forbes reported.
Still, Collins asserted the high court should block the law from taking effect “while these underlying constitutional and procedural questions are litigated” by lower courts.
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to allow the restrictive law to remain in place, critics highlighted Collins’ backing of Kavanaugh, who voted with the majority Wednesday on the Texas abortion ban, and her stated confidence Kavanaugh’s confirmation wouldn’t lead to the high court overturning abortion rights, Bloomberg News reported at the time.
Collins was one of the deciding votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va. In a nearly hour-long speech she expressed confidence Kavanaugh would not vote to overturn landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade, arguing he believes justices are “constitutionally dictated to pay attention” to precedent, Forbes reported.
“I think that a lot of people on the left and pundits have been wrong about how the court has respected precedent. We’ll have to see… I think they would look at precedent,” Collins told CNN last month when asked about the possibility of the court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Forbes noted Collins has voted on seven Supreme Court justices serving on the bench since she entered the Senate. Of the six she voted to confirm, three – John Roberts, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor – were in the minority on the Texas abortion ban, and three – Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh – were in the majority along with Barrett.