GOP Sen. Susan Collins said on Tuesday that a Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade published by Politico was “completely inconsistent” with what Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh “said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office.”
“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.”
Asked if she was misled by Kavanaugh, Collins told CNN, “My statement speaks for itself.”
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On Monday, Politico reported it had obtained what it calls a draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that would strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
The draft was circulated in early February, according to Politico. The final opinion has not been released and votes and language can change before opinions are formally released. The opinion in this case is not expected to be published until late June.
CNN has not independently confirmed the document’s authenticity. Politico says it has authenticated the draft. A Supreme Court spokesperson declined to comment to CNN.
According to the draft, the court would overturn Roe v. Wade’s holding of a federal constitutional right to an abortion. The opinion would be the most consequential abortion decision in decades and transform the landscape of women’s reproductive health in America.
It appears that five justices would be voting to overturn Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts did not want to completely overturn Roe v. Wade, meaning he would have dissented from part of Alito’s draft opinion, sources tell CNN, likely with the court’s three liberals.
That would mean that the five conservative justices that would make up the majority overturning Roe are Alito and Justices Clarence Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Collins, a key Senate swing vote, voted in support of both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s confirmations to the high court. The Maine Republican has faced intense scrutiny – and criticism from liberals – over her record of Supreme Court votes and the issue of abortion rights.
In 2018, Collins told reporters Kavanaugh had told her he agreed that Roe v. Wade is settled law.
“We talked about whether he considered Roe to be settled law. He said that he agreed with what Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearing in which he said it was settled law,” Collins said at the time after meeting with Kavanaugh.
In 2019, Collins defended her vote to confirm Kavanaugh, saying in an interview with CNN that despite his vote in a recent abortion access case, she did not believe Kavanaugh would ultimately vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“I have always been concerned about preserving Roe v. Wade,” Collins said then, adding that Kavanaugh had given her assurances during his confirmation process that the landmark opinion was safe.
Collins later told reporters on Tuesday that she wants to see Roe v. Wade be the law of the land as she discussed a bill she introduced with GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in February that would codify the abortion rights that Roe established.
“The deal that Lisa Murkowski and I introduced, it would, in my judgment, have broader support. It’s much more tailored. It preserves the conscience exception, for example, but it clearly would make Roe v. Wade and the Casey vs. Planned Parenthood decisions the law of the land, and that’s what I’d like to see,” Collins said.
There is likely no real path forward for the bill, however, given that it would need at least 60 votes to overcome a filibuster and there won’t be 10 GOP votes.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
CNN’s Ali Zaslav, Tierney Sneed and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.