Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a key vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, seemed unfazed Thursday after a "bombshell" email was leaked regarding Kavanaugh’s view on the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
“I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so,” Kavanaugh said in the email from his time as a lawyer in the George W. Bush White House.
His comment was an edit for a draft of an op-ed which said that all legal scholars consider Roe v. Wade the “settled law of the land.”
Collins, a self-described pro-choice Republican, told Politico that while she hadn’t read the email herself, she believed Kavanaugh was editing for clarity and not expressing his own beliefs.
“I am told that he was editing an op-ed for clarity and was merely stating a fact that three judges on the court were anti-Roe,” she said. “If that’s the case then, and it’s not expressing his view, then I’m not sure what the point is.”
She added that she would review the email over the weekend.
Collins recently emphasized after a meeting with Kavanaugh that she “could not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe," but she "did not see that with Judge Kavanaugh.”
Sen. Murkowski (R-AK), another pro-abortion Republican and a key vote in Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, declined to comment on the email, but an aide told Politico that she will look at it over the weekend.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) questioned Kavanaugh about the email Thursday, asking him to clarify what he meant by it.
“I think my comment in the email was that might be overstating the position of legal scholars and so it wasn’t a technically accurate description in the letter of what legal scholars thought,” Kavanaugh explained, adding, “The broader point was simply that I think it was overstating something about legal scholars, and I’m always concerned with accuracy, and I thought that was not quite [an] accurate description of all legal scholars because it referred to all.”
He emphasized his belief that Roe v. Wade was “an important precedent of the Supreme Court” that has “been reaffirmed many times.”