According to NBC News, Senator Susan Collins claims that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh told her that he believes Roe v. Wade is “settled law.”
The pro-choice Maine Republican has previously voiced her hesitation to vote in favor of President Trump’s newest Supreme Court nominee over the issue of reproductive rights. After sitting down for a meeting with Kavanaugh on Tuesday, however, Collins immediately voiced her relief, referring to her conversation with the Trump nominee as both “helpful” and “informative.”
“We talked about whether he considered Roe to be settled law,” Collins said. “He said that he agreed with what Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearings in which he said that it was settled law. We had a very good thorough discussion about that issue and many others.”
Collins also noted that the pair even discussed the recent court case involving an undocumented minor who was seeking an abortion while under U.S. custody, in which Kavanaugh wrote the circuit court’s dissenting opinion.
Collins’ vote in Kavanaugh’s nomination could prove to be critical in influencing the votes of a select group of Democrats, who are more likely to vote in favor of the nominee if Collins does as well. Many conservatives, of course, are also counting on the Maine senator’s vote. The Judicial Crisis Network has even run various ads across her home state encouraging her to vote for Kavanaugh.
A source close to the matter said to NBC that “Collins is a key persuadable vote on both sides, and we’re keenly aware of that,” noting that it was the White House’s plan in the first place to tailor Kavanaugh’s nomination process in a way that would make her “see him as a qualified judge and not as a partisan figure or activist.”
“That description is certainly part of what I’m looking for, yes,” Collins said in response, “but I’m also looking for someone who has a judicial philosophy that respects precedent and understands the roll of a judge and will apply independent judgement.”
In a more than two-hour meeting in my office today, Judge Kavanaugh & I had a productive, informative discussion about a wide range of issues, including: his judicial philosophy, his respect for precedent, & the importance of an independent judiciary. Read my statement here: pic.twitter.com/BSIRUlpfTv
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) August 21, 2018
In the months leading up to Kavanaugh’s nomination hearing, Democrats and Republicans alike have been quarreling over how many of his documents will be released from his time working at the White House under former President George W. Bush. While the National Archives will not be able to produce all of them until sometime in October, congressional Republicans are determined to have him confirmed way before then.