Kavanaugh Opponents Play Hardball With Sen. Collins

Cristina Cross
September 13, 2018

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has received 3,000 coat hangers in the mail. People dressed in costumes from the dystopian series "The Handmaid's Tale" protested outside of Collins' house this past weekend as well. And they mean business: so far, they have raised more than $1 million, all of it earmarked for Collins' future opponent should she vote for Kavanaugh.

Along with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Collins' vote could change the outcome of this critical legislation.

Collins responded by calling the campaign an attempt to bribe her.

The Boston Globe said in an editorial yesterday: "Kavanaugh's obvious hostility to abortion rights is alarming".

While a few observers have taken his answers to mean that "Roe and Casey are going nowhere", Kavanaugh's pro-life supporters and pro-abortion foes both argue his non-committal answers were phrased to navigate a narrowly-divided Senate, and that he ultimately would vote to overturn Roe. Collins said their efforts "will not influence my vote at all".

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"Attempting to bribe Senator Collins to vote against Judge Kavanaugh and threatening sexual violence against staffers if she votes for him is absolutely disgusting", Hatch's office tweeted.

In this case, that senator is Maine's Susan Collins, a centrist who is seen by many as something of a swing vote in highly partisan congressional fights, including the Kavanaugh nomination. Pro-choice activists have reportedly sent Collins, who is one of the very few pro-choice Republicans, about 3,000 coat hangers, a reference to the unsafe and potentially fatal illegal abortions women were forced to seek out or self-perform pre- Roe v. Wade. Tribal communities were crucial to Murkowski's re-election as an independent in 2010, after she lost the GOP primary to a tea party challenger.

Collins previously said she would oppose a Supreme Court nominee who would not uphold Roe v. Wade.

If Collins decides to vote no on Kavanaugh's confirmation, none of the 36,313 pledges will be charged to the credit or debit cards used to donate to the cause, and all of the money will be returned to the accounts who donated. At Rewire.News, Katelyn Burns calls the story of "Kelly Gregory [, who] is a Tennessee resident living with stage 4 terminal breast cancer [,]... emblematic of what is at stake for many people in the United States when it comes to health care, and that's exactly why Sens. She had one 25-year-old female staffer have somebody walk up to them and say they hope she is raped and impregnated". Kavanaugh has called that ruling settled precedent, but Democrats have questioned how much that statement means.

In 2014, Collins ran as a pro-choice Republican, receiving the support of groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. "If I vote against him, the money is refunded to the donors".

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