In October of 2017, Senator Collins voted to guarantee that Amy Coney Barrett would have a lifetime seat in the federal judiciary. When Collins helped confirm Barrett, she evaluated her record, which at the time already included attacking the decision that saved the Affordable Care Act, registering her opposition to marriage equality, and arguing that abortion is “always immoral.” Evaluating Barrett on the merits, Senator Collins ignored the protestations of advocates for women and LGBTQ+ Americans and voted to confirm Barrett to the Seventh Circuit, where she has already ruled twice in favor of restrictions on reproductive rights.
Less than three years later, Barrett has been elevated all the way to the precipice of serving on the Supreme Court, but now Collins is refusing to answer questions about whether she believes Barrett is qualified for the position on the merits. As part of her long running effort to play both sides, Collins waited until it was clear that her vote would have no impact on the outcome of the confirmation before getting a hall pass to announce she would oppose Barrett’s nomination on procedural grounds.
Senator Collins’ craven political calculation has earned her the applause of top conservative activists and political operatives who note that Collins has seized the opportunity to “earn plaudits for opposing the nomination on procedural grounds while appealing to conservatives by offering qualitative praise of the prospective justice.”
“When Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have needed her vote to confirm an extreme judge, Senator Collins has been with them every time,” said Maine Democratic Party Executive Director Lisa Roberts. “Now, she’s trying to use an ineffectual last minute political show-vote to try to paper over four years of aiding and abetting the far right takeover of our courts. Mainers can see right through this, and they’re ready to replace Collins in the Senate.”