Murkowski: Leak 'Rocks My Confidence in the Court'

Collins, Murkowski speak out on leaked SCOTUS abortion opinion
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2022 8:32 PM CDT
Collins, Murkowski Speak Out on Leaked SCOTUS Opinion
Sen. Susan Collins questions Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as they testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense, Tuesday, May 3, 2022.on.   (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – The stunning leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade has shocked and dismayed abortion rights supporters nationwide—including at least two Republican senators. Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski both supported the nominations of Supreme Court justices who voted to strike down the 1973 decision in the draft opinion, and they said at the time that they believed the justices would leave Roe in place, the Washington Post reports. Collins voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, while Murkowski voted for Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

According to the leaked ruling—which Chief Justice John Roberts has confirmed is genuine but not final—all three Trump-nominated justices voted with Clarence Thomas to support a decision signed by Samuel Alito. In a statement Tuesday, Collins said the leaked decision is "completely inconsistent" with what Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in private meetings and their confirmation hearings, the Hill reports. Asked by reporters if she felt misled, she said her "statement speaks for itself." Murkowski said the draft ruling doesn't reflected the direction she believed "the court would take based on statements that have been made about Roe being settled and being precedent."

If the decision "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," Murkowski told reporters. Senate Democrats declined to directly criticize the two senators but they said there had been clear signs that Trump had sought judges who would overturn Roe, the Post reports. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer accused the three Trump-nominated justices of lying during their confirmation hearings, the AP reports. Senate Democrats plan to hold a vote on legislation to protect abortion rights, but it would have little chance of beating a GOP filibuster even with Murkowski and Collins on board. (Roberts has launched an investigation of the leak.)

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