On Tuesday, confirmation hearings began for Judge Brett Kavanaugh in anticipation of filling the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy upon his retirement. These hearings haven’t gone on without much debate and criticism though. To many, Kavanaugh does not represent the best interests of women, LGBT people, or other marginalized groups.
According to The Associated Press, if female Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) both vote “no,” Kavanaugh would be blocked from being confirmed. Many people fear that the historic Roe V. Wade decision hangs in the balance and that Kavanaugh will be a deciding judge who will overturn the decision.
However, Collins says that Kavanaugh told her he viewed Roe V. Wade as established legal precedent. In major efforts to get Collins to vote “no” on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, activists sent Senator Collins 3,000 coat hangers to symbolize back-alley abortions that took place before the historic Supreme Court decision. In addition, TV ads were included that promise to fund her 2020 opponent if she votes to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
As a centrist, Collins is seen as a swing vote as she has said she would not confirm a candidate who is hostile to Roe V. Wade. Collins told the Associated Press:
‘I always wait until after the hearings are complete before making a decision, and I’ll do so in this case as well.’
According to the AP:
‘It’s a similar story in Alaska. Murkowski, who also supports abortion rights, is reviewing Kavanaugh and won’t announce her vote before his nomination goes to the Senate floor.’
Spokeswoman Hannah Roy said:
‘Basically, she’s still vetting the new information that’s coming out.’
Senator Collins, illustrating how she has voted on opposite sides of the political spectrum, said:
‘I have voted for Justice Sotomayor, and I’ve also voted for Justice Alito. I respect the fact that one of my jobs is to determine whether or not the candidate is qualified for the court, has the requisite experience, and has the judicial temperament, as well as respect for precedence.’
What concerns those who care about women’s rights is that Kavanaugh once said in a 2003 email while working for the Bush Administration that some legal scholars may view the idea of precedent differently, and one “can always overrule its precedent.” Kavanaugh says that statement did not reflect his personal views.
Mindy Woerter from Durham traveled to Washington to meet with Collins to share her personal experience about an abortion she had because the fetus she was carrying had a fatal anomaly. Woerter said:
‘We need to make sure that we preserve that right in the future. A lot of people in Maine would be disappointed if she decided to vote for Kavanaugh.’
Collins has stated that she is still deciding and said:
‘I was shocked when many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle took a position on the nominee before his identity was even known. That’s just extraordinary.’
The AP reported:
‘Collins, who’s not up for re-election until 2020, voted last month to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood a day after the same organization rallied in Washington to encourage her to vote against Kavanaugh. On Thursday, the group delivered letters to her office in Bangor.’
Collins responded to receiving the letters, saying:
‘I’ve learned not to expect a “thank you.”‘
There were a few comments from Twitter:
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube