Maybe Susan Collins Isn’t The Best Judge Of Character

The Senator from Maine once against demonstrates that she shouldn't be prognosticating about people's future actions.

As almost everyone has learned by now, a draft of Justice Alito’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturns Roe v. Wade was leaked to the press last night. While we currently do not know the specifics of how the court voted (beyond Alito), it seems likely that either Justice Kavanaugh or Justice Gorsuch joined with the majority. Which will create a bit of public embarrassment for one Republican Senator.

Susan Collins of Maine played a key role in advancing Justice Kavanaugh during his contentious hearings. At the time, there were questions as to why the Pro-Choice Collins would support a justice who appeared on paper to be hostile to Roe. In answer to those questions, Collins stated that Kavanaugh told her Roe v. Wade is settled law. Likewise, she made a similar claim about Gorsuch saying “I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law.” In fact, she went on record again, saying “I actually don’t [think Justice Gorsuch would overturn Roe.] I had a very long discussion with Justice Gorsuch in my office and he pointed out to me that he is a co-author of a whole book on precedent.”

This morning, in the wake of the leak, Susan Collins could only offer the following statement:

Note that Collins was the sole Republican to vote against Justice Amy Coney Barrett, hence why she wasn’t mentioned in this quote.

Collins also infamously stated that she believed that President Trump had learned his lesson and was chastened by his first House impeachment when justifying her vote against it. Less than a year later she would be one of seven Republicans who would vote against Trump in his second impeachment.

Given this record, I think the gentlewoman from Maine should seriously consider avoiding future predictions about people’s behaviors (especially when trying to explain votes for people who don’t represent their expressed values). Though, chances are she will not take this advice.*


* – Collins has not ruled out supporting Trump in 2024 should he be the party’s nominee.

FILED UNDER: Congress, General, Law and the Courts, Supreme Court, US Politics, US Senate
Matt Bernius
About Matt Bernius
Matt Bernius is a design researcher working to create more equitable government systems and experiences. He's currently a Principal User Researcher on Code for America's "GetCalFresh" program, helping people apply for SNAP food benefits in California. Prior to joining CfA, he worked at Measures for Justice and at Effective, a UX agency. Matt has an MA from the University of Chicago.

Comments

  1. Jen says:

    I get email alerts and saw Collins’ statement come through and my first reaction was to laugh. Two movie lines keep running through my head on a loop, one is the “shocked, shocked that there’s gambling going on here,” from Casablanca, the other is “You are either hopelessly naive or irretrievably stupid,” from A Fish Called Wanda.

    Sigh.

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  2. DK says:

    This post is hilarious.

    If Maine voters disagree with Roe being overturned, it’s their fault for voting for a Republican senator.

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  3. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    the other is “You are either hopelessly naive or irretrievably stupid,” from A Fish Called Wanda.

    The line is actually “Not unless you’re congenitally insane or irretrievably stupid.”

    Collins is none of those things. She’s just a liar. And judging from the 2020 results in her state, she pays little price for it.

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  4. reid says:

    @Kylopod: Yeah, she’s not stupid, and her shtick is tiresome. So many failures in our governance could be fixed by a voting population that was just informed and motivated.

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  5. Argon says:

    I’m sure she’s learned her lesson about trusting what Supreme Court nominees and corrupt Presidents tell her.

    Next time she’ll require they pinky-swear about telling the truth before she’ll believe them.

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  6. Kylopod says:

    @reid: Maine’s electorate in particular is very frustrating. They seem to have a fetish for politicians who brand themselves as centrists or independents, and it’s all about optics rather than substance. The state has been consistently blue at the presidential level for the past 30 years, yet in that entire time it has not elected an actual Democrat to the Senate–the closest is Angus King, an indie who caucuses with the Dems though still has one of the more conservative voting records within that caucus. But at least he leans toward the Dems, and isn’t a performative asshole along the lines of Manchin or Sinema.

    In 2020 it was the only state that voted for a different party for Senate and president, showing it’s one of the few bastions of the country left that engages in ticket-splitting on a significant scale. It goes both ways, as in the 2nd district Jared Golden held onto his seat while Trump won the district, making it one of the few House districts to split its party vote that year. So Mainers don’t only act this way in a Republican direction; their problem is just that they’re hopelessly stuck in an outdated framework, which makes them a sucker for figures like Collins.

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  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    Take comfort in knowing that when Collins is gone, the Gorsuch/Kavanaugh fiasco will have its own subheading in her Wikipedia entry. Liars eventually get caught and Collins has a huge hook in her upper lip.

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  8. DK says:

    @Kylopod:

    Collins is none of those things. She’s just a liar. And judging from the 2020 results in her state, she pays little price for it.

    Yeah, definitely not stupid. Maine voters have rewarded her handsomely for her Casablanca-shocked and perpetually disappointed act.

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  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    I dunno. As deserving of the mockery as she is, she has stepped up insofar as naming and shaming two sitting Justices as well as not voting for Barrett. What about Alito, though? She was a senator then, right?

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  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Kylopod:

    Collins is none of those things. She’s just a liar. And judging from the 2020 results in her state, she pays little price for it.

    Thank you. Almost everyone will say they know politicians lie. But then they, and I’m looking at the supposedly liberal MSM here, will turn around and take what they say at face value. Collins wanted a fig leaf and she got it.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Which will create a bit of public embarrassment for one Republican Senator.

    If Collins was capable of embarrassment, she never would have put out this ass covering statement: “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.”

    I mean really? Does she expect me to believe that she is so naive that it never occurred to her they might lie to get on the Supreme Court? She really thinks somebody is going to let a little thing like the truth stand between them and the fulfillment of a life long dream?

    How long has she been in DC?

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  12. Kylopod says:

    @DK:

    Maine voters have rewarded her handsomely for her Casablanca-shocked and perpetually disappointed act.

    My one caveat would be that she used to win her races by 20-30 points or so. Her 8-point victory in 2020 was certainly comfortable, and a lot better than expected relative to the polls–but she’s clearly lost support. Her act has indeed worn thin with some Mainers. Just not enough of them to matter. Lucky for her, she has till 2026 before she has to face the voters of her state again, and frankly, I can’t say with confidence that she’d lose her seat even if the election were held this year.

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  13. HelloWorld! says:

    Note that Collins was the sole Republican to vote against Justice Amy Coney Barrett, hence why she wasn’t mentioned in this quote.

    Of course, she voted against Barrett – her vote would not change what the GOP wanted. When her vote could change what the GOP wants, she is always with the GOP.

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  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    In 2020, it didn’t help that Dems ran a national, anti-trump campaign v. Collins, rather than a campaign hitting her on local hot button issues. That said, it’s not clear that this would have provided a path to victory.

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  15. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In 2020, it didn’t help that Dems ran a national, anti-trump campaign v. Collins, rather than a campaign hitting her on local hot button issues.

    I would need to get the perspective of Maine residents to know what those local issues even are. It’s quite possible they would have played more to her strengths, and that the national stuff was her biggest point of vulnerability–I do know her approval ratings cratered after her Kavanaugh vote.

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  16. Paine says:

    You know… I’m still not entirely convinced that the Repubs will go for a nationwide ban should they get the trifecta. It would suit their long-term goals to keep abortion legal in a few states to allow an exodus of medical privacy advocates into those countries to dilute their power elsewhere. Seems like it might benefit them to wait a decade or two before going for a nationwide ban. Pack as many people as possible into the livable blue states…

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  17. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod:

    I would need to get the perspective of Maine residents to know what those local issues even are.

    Lobster rolls: taco or sandwich?
    Can LL Bean be the state bird?
    Cold Enough For Ya?
    Are Quebecois crossing the border?

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  18. Ken_L says:

    Can’t she now move now to rescind her vote to confirm and get Gorsuch and Kavanaugh recalled? You know, the way Trump Republicans want states to recall their 2016 electoral college voters and reinstate the former guy.

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  19. Chris says:

    Sen. Collins knows better, yet acts in ways opposed to sound judgement. This occurs in due course to appease her political ring leaders. She is no profile in courage and because of that the office she holds is a now vacuous post incapable of protecting our democratic-republic. May God save the United States of America from such continued lunacy.

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