Alaska’s U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the leaked draft opinion that indicates a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservatives—three of which she voted to confirm—are poised to overturn Roe v. Wade has shaken her confidence in the court.
Murkowski, who supports access to abortion, voted in favor of confirming Supreme Court Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito (she was not yet in Congress for Justice Clarence Thomas and voted “present” for Justice Brett Kavanaugh). In defending Coney Barrett’s confirmation, Murkowski went as far as saying “I don’t see her overturning the decision.”
The leaked opinion, which was confirmed as authentic but not final today, shows she was wrong.
Murkowski was asked today if she felt misled by the justices during the confirmation process.
“If it goes it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, I will just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now,” she said. “If the decision is going the way that the draft that has been revealed is actually the case, it was not—it was not the direction that I believed that the court would take based on statements that have been made about Roe being settled and being precedent.”
Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who’s politically similar to Murkowski (though she voted in favor of confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh), had been similarly certain during the confirmation process that Kavanaugh and Gorsuch would not overturn the landmark ruling. She said today felt she was misled.
“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,” she said.
Both Murkowski and Collins have authored legislation that would narrowly codify Roe v. Wade, a move that Democrats have been pushing. According to The Hill, however, Murkowski declined to say whether she would support reforms to the filibuster that are required for such legislation to actually reach a vote.
Without that change, it’s likely that any promise to codify Roe v. Wade is just as empty as the assurances that Roe v. Wade was settled law.