Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a key centrist in Congress's upper chamber, said the leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court will rule to overturn Roe v. Wade indicates Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh misled lawmakers during their confirmation processes.
The Maine Republican’s comments come in the wake of a bombshell Politico report that featured Justice Samuel Alito’s draft of the majority decision.
“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,” she said Tuesday. “Obviously, we won't know each Justice's decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case."
Both judges indicated during hearings that Roe v. Wade was precedent.
"A good judge will consider it as precedent of the United States Supreme Court, worthy of treatment as precedent, like any other,” Gorsuch said in 2017.
Kavanaugh made similar comments 2018, telling lawmakers the ruling had been "reaffirmed."
“Senator, I said that it is settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court, entitled the respect under principles of stare decisis. And one of the important things to keep in mind about Roe v. Wade is that it has been reaffirmed many times over the past 45 years,” Kavanaugh said at the time.
Collins, who supports abortion rights and voted for both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, introduced legislation alongside Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to codify Roe v. Wade earlier this year.
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Murkowski said she feels in the wake of the news that the Senate should take up the legislation in an effort to protect abortion rights.
“Roe is still the law of the land. We don't know the direction that this decision may ultimately take,” she said on Tuesday.
“Sen. Collins and I in February introduced a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade. I thought it made sense then, and I think it makes perhaps more sense now.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asserted that he plans to bring a version of the bill to codify access to abortion to the floor in the wake of the news.
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The leak sparked outrage from top Republicans, who argued that the move was intended to intimidate justices to rule differently on the case.
Chief Justice John Roberts announced he has ordered a probe into the leak.
“This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here. I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak," he said in a statement.