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Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted to confirm justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, say they were misled on Roe v. Wade

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin said they were misled by Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
  • The centrist, pro-choice senators said the justices assured them they believed Roe v Wade was settled law.
  • Kavanaugh and Gorsuch voted to overturn Roe v. Wade in a landmark Supreme Court ruling.

Centrist Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin criticized Friday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, suggesting they felt misled by Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Collins, a Maine Republican, and Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, both voted to confirm Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. 

Both senators are pro-choice and said that the justices had assured them they believed Roe v Wade was settled law.

“I trusted Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was settled legal precedent. I am alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans,” Manchin said in a statement.

Manchin, a self-described centrist, was one of three Democrats to vote to confirm Gorsuch in 2017 and the only Democrat who voted to confirm Kavanaugh in 2018. Kavanaugh’s 50-48 confirmation vote was historically close.

Manchin said that while he is personally pro-life, he would “support legislation that would codify the rights Roe v. Wade previously protected.”

Collins similarly expressed disappointment with the justices.

“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon,” Collins said in a statement.

While persuading the senator to vote to confirm him, Kavanaugh told Collins that he would not threaten the landmark abortion ruling and was a “don’t-rock-the-boat kind of judge,” The New York Times reported. 

Collins defended Kavanaugh publicly before his 2018 confirmation and told CNN: “I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh will overturn Roe. v. Wade.”

Rolling Stone recently reported that Trump officials privately mocked the Maine senator for agreeing to back Kavanaugh despite her pro-choice stance.

“I feel misled,” Collins told The New York Times on Friday. 

Other Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, criticized the justices for misleading the public during their confirmation hearings.

During his 2017 confirmation hearings, Gorsuch said: “I would tell you that Roe v. Wade, decided in 1973, is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court. It has been reaffirmed. A good judge will consider it as a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent like any other.”

Kavanaugh made similar remarks during his 2018 confirmation hearing, stating that Roe v. Wade “is an important precedent of the Supreme Court that has been reaffirmed many times.”

The landmark Supreme Court’s ruling now leaves the legality of abortion up to state legislatures. 

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