The Slatest

Susan Collins Hears What She Wants to Hear on Abortion from Brett Kavanaugh

Sen. Susan Collins meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday.
Sen. Susan Collins meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday.
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After a two-hour meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanuagh in her Senate office on Tuesday morning, Maine Sen. Susan Collins emerged into the Dirksen hallway to a mob of reporters and cameras to render a few important words. A Senate vote had been kept open for her, so she didn’t have much time. Just enough to answer the important question: What words did this guy have to offer on Roe v. Wade that might satisfy this pro-choice Republican senator?

“We talked about whether he considered Roe to be settled law,” Collins said. “He said that he agreed with what Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearing, in which he said that it was settled law.” Collins did not say whether she asked him if he intends to unsettle it.

“We had a very good, thorough discussion about that issue, and many other such matters,” she concluded.

This, presumably, is what Kavanaugh will also tell Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, with whom he meets on Thursday. Both senators have been looking for language they could live with to support his nomination.

Collins was not, however, ready to come out in support of Kavanaugh just yet.

“I have always waited until after the Judiciary Committee hearings before rendering a final decision on a Supreme Court nominee,” she said. “You never know what questions are going to come up at a Judiciary Committee hearing where 21 individuals will be questioning him.”

Taking her at her word, “You never know” seems to be the most generous answer to the question of whether she’d ever be willing to take down Kavanaugh.

But we sort of know.