Susan Collins is Lying
JACOB DENNINGER: Senator Susan Collins of Maine is defending her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after Kavanaugh voted to allow a Louisiana law restricting abortion access to go into effect.
Collins, a rare pro-choice Republican, defended her confirmation vote by saying that she still believed Kavanaugh would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide. As evidence, she cited the fact that Kavanaugh has said under oath that Roe v. Wade is decided precedent, reaffirmed in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
But Collins is lying—either to her constituents or to herself—when she says Kavanaugh will not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court for one purpose: to overturn Roe v. Wade. President Donald Trump, who appointed Kavanaugh, made a campaign promise to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe. Trump chose Kavanaugh from was a list of thoroughly vetted ultra-conservative judges who were basically certain to vote to overturn Roe. And the prospect of overturning Roe was one of the reasons Senate Republicans pushed so hard to confirm Kavanaugh after he was accused of attempted rape.
The Supreme Court is also not bound by precedent in the same way that lower courts are, which makes Kavanaugh’s assurances that Roe v. Wade is decided precedent much less relevant.
Susan Collins knows all this, so there are two possible scenarios. The first is that she is just flat-out lying to her constituents in an effort to keep pro-choice Maine voters on her side, despite her Kavanaugh confirmation vote.
The other possible scenario is that Collins is being incredibly naive, telling herself that Kavanaugh’s verbal statements mean that he will not vote to overturn Roe, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary.
This situation with Kavanaugh is not the only time Collins has lied like this. Collins also voted for the GOP’s tax bill, which eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, undermining the health care law. Collins, who had voted against the earlier Republican ACA repeal effort, was promised legislation to stabilize the health insurance market by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The stabilization legislation was supposed to offset the increase in health insurance premiums that the repeal of the individual mandate would cause. But the legislation never came close to passing, even as Collins lied to either her constituents or herself for months that it would.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who Collins is lying to. Whether she is deceiving herself or her constituents, one thing is certain: Collins is willing to lie as much as she needs to in order to justify giving Mitch McConnell the votes he needs, and it doesn’t matter if those votes hurt Mainers.
Jacob Denninger is a Freshman in the College and prospective government major from Massachusetts.