Susan Collins — Republican Senator from Maine — has made herself a legislative punchline by consistently pretending to be moderate by expressing her “concern” for the potential consequences while voting down the line for right-wing priorities. In particular, she claimed repeatedly to support abortion rights while voting for the Trump Supreme Court nominees who were committed to overturning Roe v. Wade. (She infamously proclaimed — after voting against conviction in Trump’s first impeachment trial — that she believed the president had “learned his lesson”. Which, in a sense, was true.)
Now she is shocked at how those justices deceived her. But the evidence is… unconvincing. Her staff have shared notes with the NY Times, from her discussions with Brett Kavanaugh during the time when the Senate was considering his nomination. He said:
Start with my record, my respect for precedent, my belief that it is rooted in the Constitution, and my commitment and its importance to the rule of law… I understand precedent and I understand the importance of overturning it…
Roe is 45 years old, it has been reaffirmed many times, lots of people care about it a great deal, and I’ve tried to demonstrate I understand real-world consequences
“Lots of people care about it.” No suggestion that he cares about it. The only thing he says about his own intentions is literally the opposite of what Collins suggests. If he had said in a secret meeting with Trump “I understand the importance of overturning” precedent, everyone would understand that he was promising not to protect Roe v. Wade. It actually takes a lot of wishful thinking — Collins’s specialty — to interpret that as a promise to protect abortion rights precedents. That would normally be expressed as “the importance of not overturning precedent”.