Sen. Susan Collins, who voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the basis of his assurance that he would follow judicial precedent on abortion law, is confident he will keep his word.
Asked Thursday whether she believed that Kavanaugh would join the liberal bloc on the court to strike down Alabama’s new law effectively banning abortion altogether, Collins said she was sure he would be guided by the high court’s traditional deference to precedents such as the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.
“The Alabama law is a terrible law. It’s very extreme. it essentially bans all abortions. I can’t imagine that any justice could find that to be consistent with the previous precedents,” Collins told reporters on Capitol Hill, according to a tweet by CNN correspondent Manu Raju.
“Obviously, it’s not something I would ever vote for,” Collins said.
Alabama’s law is part of a coordinated strategy by anti-abortion activists to bring cases to the Supreme Court with the express purpose of overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion. With Kavanaugh installed on the high court, many conservatives believe, the time is right to bring a case that could overturn Roe.
In a Wednesday statement released after she signed the state’s abortion restrictions into law, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey made clear that anti-abortion advocates saw the court’s current makeup as an opportunity.
“No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions,” Ivey wrote in her statement. “Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”
Just before she voted to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Collins explained that, in part, she supported his nomination because she believed he would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“... In his testimony, he noted repeatedly that Roe had been upheld by Planned Parenthood v. Casey, describing it as ‘precedent on precedent.’” Collins said in a speech on the Senate floor. “When I asked him would it be sufficient to overturn a long-established precedent if five current justices believed it was wrongly decided, he emphatically said, ‘No.’”
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