The media circus over the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh has finally concluded, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) stepping in as the voice of reason.
Speaking on the Senate floor Friday afternoon, the notably liberal Republican senator announced that she will be voting “Yes” to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court when the time comes on Saturday.
Collins began her lengthy speech, which lasted more than 30 minutes, by acknowledging the “solemn nature and the importance of the occasion” while lamenting the toxicity of the moment. The senator went as far as to call the current confirmation process something “so dysfunctional it has become a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign.”
“Our Supreme Court process has been in steady decline for over 30 years. With the Kavanaugh nomination, it has finally hit rock bottom,” said Collins.
From that moment, Collins examined the case before her: Kavanaugh’s judicial record and the allegations of sexual assault brought forth by Christine Blasey Ford.
On Kavanaugh’s judicial record, Collins agreed with her colleagues that the judge led an exemplary career as a jurist whose philosophy fits within the mainstream, citing several of his past decisions, most specifically his ruling in Seven-Sky v. Holder that upheld the Affordable Care Act.
“Judge Kavanaugh has received rave reviews for his 12-year track record as a judge, including for his judicial temperament,” she said.
On Roe v. Wade, an issue for which Collins expressed support, the senator noted that Kavanaugh respects judicial precedent except in extreme circumstances. She did not say whether or not she believed if Kavanaugh considered Roe v. Wade one of those extreme circumstances.
Finally, regarding the allegations of sexual assault brought forward in recent weeks by Christine Blasey Ford, which threw the advise and consent process “into a tailspin,” according to Collins, the senator extolled every American’s right to “due process and fairness” under the Constitution.
“I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the Court,” said Collins.
Though Collins certainly understood the seriousness of Dr. Ford’s claims and said she believed Ford’s contention that something happened to her, the senator noted that the evidence does not support Kavanaugh’s guilt.
“Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering,” said Collins.
Collins also rejected critics who say the confirmation of Kavanaugh would send a message that the Senate condones sexual assault; she thanked Chairman Grassley for treating Ford with the utmost respect. She also blasted Ford’s legal team for not informing Ford of Grassley’s offer for her to give her testimony in private, alleging they used Dr. Ford to torpedo Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Lastly, Collins directed her attention at the leaker of Dr. Ford’s letter. On this, Collins pulled no punches, though she accepted Sen. Feinstein’s word that she was not the one who leaked it.
“To that leaker, who I hope is listening now, let me say that what you did was unconscionable. You have sacrificed her well-being in a misguided attempt to win whatever political crusade you think you are fighting,” Collins concluded.