After meeting with Judge Brett Kavanaugh for two hours Tuesday, Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican and a key swing vote on the Supreme Court nominee, said he told her he believes the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in favor of abortion rights is "settled law."
"We talked about whether he considered Roe to be settled law. He said that he agreed with what Justice Roberts said at his nomination hearing in which he said that it was settled law. We had a very good thorough discussion about that issue," Collins said.
During his 2005 Supreme Court hearing, John Roberts called the abortion decision "settled as a precedent of the court” but did not go so far as to pledge to committee members that the decision should never be overturned.
Collins, who supports abortion rights, said earlier this summer that she would not vote for any nominee who demonstrated “hostility” to Roe but that, at that point, she had not seen such hostility from Kavanaugh.
She said she also discussed with Kavanaugh his decision in the Garza v. Hargan case, which she noted was the only case dealing with abortion in which he cast a vote.
During that case, Kavanaugh twice went on the record as opposing other courts’ rulings that allowed a pregnant immigrant teen in federal custody to have an abortion, first as part of a lower court who overturned the original ruling, and then as part of a dissent when the D.C. circuit court overturned his decision.
Collins said she would not announce her decision on whether or not to vote for Kavanaugh until after the Senate Judiciary Committee holds confirmation hearings beginning just after Labor Day. With 50 Senate Republicans likely to vote, Kavanaugh needs as many Republicans as he can to vote yes in order to offset what is expected to be widespread opposition from most Democrats.
Kavanaugh was also meeting with at least five other senators – all Democrats – Tuesday.