Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) explained that she does not at all regret her “yes” vote for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanauagh last fall after a contentious set of confirmation hearings.
But she said she is “sad” that it might cost her some votes in her 2020 bid for re-election to the Senate.
“Have I lost some votes because of my decision to support Justice Kavanaugh? Yes, I have,” she said in an interview Politico published on Monday.
“And I’m sad about that because I explained in great depth my decision-making,” she added.
But “there still is an appreciation in Maine for someone who looks at the facts of an issue, votes with integrity and independence,” she also told Politico.
She certainly did explain in great depth how she arrived at the decision to back then-Judge Brett Kavanuagh for the nation’s highest court after President Donald Trump nominated him.
Collins proved to be the swing vote in a 50-48 vote in the Senate to confirm him last October.
The extraordinary explanation she delivered on Oct. 5, 2018, about her vote for Kavanaugh was, and still is, a remarkable speech as given on the Senate floor — and for anyone who did not watch her speech or read it in its entirety, it is absolutely worth the time. (Read the full Collins speech here.)
Collins is facing a tough bid for re-election in 2020 after winning over two-thirds of the vote in 2014, as the Washington Examiner reported.
She was first elected to the Senate in 1996.
Prior to that, Collins, 66, served as deputy state treasurer of Massachusetts. She was born in Caribou, Maine.
Among her remarks last October about the Kavanaugh nomination, Collins said these words, which are worth repeating, as it shows the dedication and seriousness that she applied to her voting process: “I began my evaluation of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination by reviewing his 12-year record on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, including his more than 300 opinions and his many speeches and law review articles. Nineteen attorneys, including lawyers from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), briefed me many times each week and assisted me in evaluating the judge’s extensive record. I met with Judge Kavanaugh for more than two hours in my office.”
“I listened carefully to the testimony at the committee hearings. I spoke with people who knew him personally, such as Condoleezza Rice and many others. And I talked with Judge Kavanaugh a second time by phone for another hour to ask him very specific additional questions.”
“I have also met with thousands of my constituents, both advocates and many opponents, regarding Judge Kavanaugh,” she also said last October. “One concern that I frequently heard was that Judge Kavanaugh would be likely to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions. I disagree with this contention. In a dissent in Seven-Sky v. Holder, Judge Kavanaugh rejected a challenge to the ACA on narrow procedural grounds, preserving the law in full. Many experts have said his dissent informed Justice Roberts’ opinion upholding the ACA at the Supreme Court.”
She also said this, a bit later on in the speech: “Noting that Roe v. Wade was decided 45 years ago, and reaffirmed 19 years later in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, I asked Judge Kavanaugh whether the passage of time is relevant to following precedent. He said decisions become part of our legal framework with the passage of time and that honoring precedent is essential to maintaining public confidence.”
“In our intense focus on our differences, we have forgotten the common values that bind us together as Americans.”
And this, which is perhaps never more relevant right now: “The politically charged atmosphere surrounding this nomination had reached a fever pitch even before these allegations [by Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh] were known, and it has been challenging even then to separate fact from fiction.”
“We live in a time of such great disunity, as the bitter fight over this nomination both in the Senate and among the public clearly demonstrates. It is not merely a case of different groups having different opinions. It is a case of people bearing extreme ill will toward those who disagree with them. In our intense focus on our differences, we have forgotten the common values that bind us together as Americans. When some of our best minds are seeking to develop ever more sophisticated algorithms designed to link us to websites that only reinforce and cater to our views, we can only expect our differences to intensify.”
“This would have alarmed the drafters of our Constitution, who were acutely aware that different values and interests could prevent Americans from becoming and remaining a single people. Indeed, of the six objectives they invoked in the preamble to the Constitution, the one that they put first was the formation of ‘a more perfect Union.'”
“Their vision of ‘a more perfect Union’ does not exist today, and if anything, we appear to be moving farther away from it. It is particularly worrisome that the Supreme Court, the institution that most Americans see as the principal guardian of our shared constitutional heritage, is viewed as part of the problem through a political lens.”
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