Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) will be voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.
Collins announced her vote in a speech on the Senate floor at 3 p.m. Eastern time on Friday. She praised Kavanaugh’s judicial history on issues ranging from military commission trials to access to contraception.
She made concerns about Kavanaugh’s relationship with Roe v. Wade sound hysterical, citing a campaign against former Justice David Souter that said his confirmation would kill women.
And she cited Kavanaugh’s approval from the American Bar Association, which stepped back from their support and called for a thorough investigation. The subsequent investigation was anything but thorough.
The presumption of innocence was core to Collins’ dismissal of the allegations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Despite saying that she believed Ford was a victim, Collins went on to paint her story as hard to believe.
“This is not a criminal trial and I do not believe claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Collins. “Nevertheless, fairness would dictate the claims should meet a threshold of more likely than not.”
She believes that threshold was not met.
Susan Collins was facing enormous pressure to vote against Kavanaugh even before the explosive allegations of three women regarding the judge’s history of sexual misconduct.
Collins has been a champion of pro-choice Republicans and has a reputation for serving women well on the issue. Collins tipped her hand when Kavanaugh’s leaked emails showed he advised the Bush Administration to not call Roe settled law.
Despite this, in her floor speech, Collins echoed her earlier remarks that she believes Kavanaugh will not overturn Roe. She said his views on precedent would prevent him from overturning an established ruling.
Her decision Friday places her future as a U.S. Senator in jeopardy. Activists have already raised nearly $2 million to support Collins’ 2020 Democratic opponent, whoever that might be. Collins has not taken that news well.
“I consider this quid pro quo fundraising to be the equivalent of an attempt to bribe me to vote against Judge Kavanaugh,” she told conservative site Newsmax. “I think it demonstrates the new lows to which the judge’s opponents have stooped.”
At least, in the idea of partisan conspiracies, Susan Collins agrees with Kavanaugh. Collins hoped that Kavanaugh would lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court despite his bitterly partisan attacks on Democrats in his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony.
Collins departs from Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who announced Friday she would vote against Kavanaugh.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.