I worked closely with then-staffer Susan Collins over three decades ago on Social Security disability issues, back in a time when bipartisanship still had a pulse. She worked for Republican Sen. Bill Cohen, and I worked for Democratic Sen. Jim Sasser of Tennessee.

I remember Susan as a conscientious, dedicated and hard-working staff person who really cared about public policy. I would continue to remain behind the scenes over a 40-year career, and she would ascend to elected office as a United States senator. Often she has been in a position to vote on principle, not party. Such is the case today as the Brett Kavanaugh nomination enters very treacherous waters indeed.

One can only imagine the immense pressure she is feeling from her leadership and the White House, but the enormity of the consequences of having the judge on the Supreme Court for potentially generations demands that she follow her conscience, not merely as a woman, but, more importantly, as a policymaker.

Decisions that are as monumental as the one before her now demand that a thorough investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct put to rest any hint of criminal misconduct on the part of one seeking the highest judicial post in our government. Regardless of political affiliation, we owe it to our citizens, present and future, to ensure that unconditional adherence to the rule of law continues to distinguish us from all other societies.

I would ask Sen. Collins to reach deep down to reject political calculation and abide by the principles that we both, as young staffers, used as beacons to drive us to a career in public service. Restoration of confidence in our leaders and institutions is the most important legacy we can leave to future generations. Senator, do the right thing!

Lance Simmens

Malibu, Calif.

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