Centrist Republican Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) lamented the possibility that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade after a draft opinion was leaked indicating that the Court is poised to overturn the landmark ruling that enshrined abortion as a right under federal law.
Speaking to reporters in the halls of the Capitol building Tuesday, Murkowski condemned the leak of the draft opinion, before commenting that the decision itself “rocks” her confidence in the Court. “The leak is absolutely reprehensible, and needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” Murkowski said. “I really find it shocking that this would happen. I understand it is unprecedented. Second point is, Roe is still the law of the land, we don’t know the direction that this decision will ultimately take, but if it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, I will just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now.”
Murkowski also told reporters, via The Hill, that she spoke with several justices, whom she did not name, during their confirmation processes. She said the justices told her that they viewed Roe as settled law and gave her the impression that they would not vote to overturn it. “I think there were some representations made with regards to precedent and settled [law],” she said. “Comments were made to me and to others about Roe being settled and precedent.”
Collins issued a statement Tuesday saying that the opinion, if it is actually the final ruling of the Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, would be “inconsistent” with the conversations she had with Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh during their confirmation processes. “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. Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case.”
Asked by reporters whether, in response to the leaked opinion, she felt misled by Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, Collins evaded the question, saying that her “statement speaks for itself,” The Hill reported. In addition, Collins Communications Director Annie Clark responded to questions about her stance on the Senate filibuster, telling Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman that “Senator Collins’ position on the filibuster is unchanged.”
Murkowski also told reporters that she was open to considering legislation that would codify Roe into law, noting that she and Collins had introduced a similar bill in February. “I thought it made sense then and I think it makes perhaps more sense now,” Murkowski said. But The Hill noted that both senators voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have codified the decision.
A draft opinion in the case of Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was leaked to Politico Monday night. The draft opinion “is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right,” Politico reported.
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