Susan Collins, the senior US Senator from Maine, took to the floor of the Senate on Friday afternoon to indicate her support for Brett Kavanaugh.
Collins’ speech was interrupted by protesters screaming at her to vote “no” — but the protesters were quickly silenced.
Collins, a Republican whose vote has been closely watched, took the floor for a lengthy speech in which she praised Kavanaugh and criticized some of her Democratic colleagues for their behavior during the nomination process. Collins said that the Kavanaugh nomination has been one of the most politically charged Supreme Court nominations in history. She said that from the beginning, Democrats had been opposing him simply because he was nominated by Donald Trump. Collins said that “misrepresentations and outright falsehoods” had been spread about Kavanaugh and had tainted the nomination process.
Collins said that the Supreme Court nomination process has been in “steady decline for more than 30 years” and said, “One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom.” You can watch her talk about that process here.
Collins Defended Kavanaugh’s Record on Healthcare and Abortion Rights
— 👻avenatti/cuomo 2020🎃 (@JordanUhl) October 5, 2018
Collins said that she and a team of 19 attorneys had combed through Kavanaugh’s record, before she made her decision to support Kavanaugh.
She said that, although she opposes having a “litmus test” for Supreme Court nominees, abortion rights are very important to her and she stressed that Kavanaugh, she believes, will defend those right. She said that Kavanaugh’s strong belief in the importance of honring legal precendents would “preclude” him from backing attempts to overturn Roe vs Wade. Collins said she had asked Kavanaugh about the issue, and that he had reassured her that he believes in the importance of legal precendence on the issue of abortion.
On healthcare, the Maine senator said she expects Kavanaugh to defend the Affordable Care Act and, in particular, to defend the rule requiring insurance to cover pre-existing conditions.
Collins argued that senators should not question nominees’ philosophy too closely. She said, “the president has broad discretion to consider a nominee’s philosophy, whereas my duty is to focus on his qualifications as long as his philosophy is within the mainstream of judicial thought.”
Collins noted that she herself has a record of voting for judges nominated by both Republicans and Democrats. She has voted for, she said, Justices Roberts and Alito; she also voted for also Justices Sotomayor and Kagan; and for Justice Gorsuch.
Collins Said Kavanaugh Should Be Considered Innocent Until Proven Guilty
Turning to the allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh, Collins said she could understand “both sides” of the debate. But she said that, on the whole, the “presumption of innocence” is particularly important. The senator said, “it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy.”
She said that the “outlandish” allegation that Kavanaugh …read more