Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a self-styled abortion-rights moderate, is under fire for her high-profile role in tipping the U.S. Supreme Court far enough to the right that it appears poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

Sen. Susan Collins cast the deciding vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Luis Magana/Associated Press, file

Since news of a draft anti-abortion ruling broke Monday, Collins has been mocked by late-night TV hosts Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, urged to resign by Maine author Stephen King and pilloried by an array of national political columnists from Eleanor Clift to Ana Marie Cox.

To date, Collins’ only response has been a two-sentence statement issued Tuesday morning that said the draft opinion was “completely inconsistent” with what Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh said during their confirmation hearings and in private meetings in her office.

That comment prompted Colbert to rip into Maine’s senior senator, calling her an idiot, a gullible grandma and a live-action Lady Elaine, referring to the eccentric puppet who lived in the Museum-Go-Round and liked to stir up trouble in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

“I don’t understand why they lie,” Colbert said in a grandma-like voice. “We pinkie swore in my office. This is just like that time my niece sent me the email saying she was stranded in Guadalajara and needed money to get out of jail so I sent her $10,000.”

During speeches she gave on the Senate floor, Collins said Gorsuch and Kavanaugh had assured her that Roe v. Wade was legal precedent that must be constitutionally heeded. During multiple TV interviews, Collins said she had full confidence they would leave Roe v. Wade alone.


“Really, Susan Collins? You’re really gonna tell us that you didn’t think the conservative justices were gonna overturn Roe v. Wade?” Trevor Noah asked on “The Daily Show.” “That’s their whole thing. It’s like letting PacMan borrow your dots and being shocked that he ate them all.”

Collins’ decisive role in tipping the court – she cast the deciding 50th vote for Kavanaugh – was more than just a punchline on late-night TV in the wake of the draft legal ruling that, if upheld, would likely result in abortion being outlawed in more than 20 states.

Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, said Collins and fellow abortion-rights supporter Rep. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, had betrayed the nation’s reproductive rights when they were singularly capable of stopping the slide. “They don’t get to play victim now,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter.

Author and fellow Mainer Stephen King, who has become a vocal critic of Collins in recent years, also took to Twitter to chastise her for her credulity in believing Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s assurances and said that she should resign because of it.

Columnists also have weighed in on Collins’ role.

“Now a constitutional right that has been in place for 50 years is about to be shattered on the wing of a promise to her that predictably turned out to be a lie,” political reporter Eleanor Clift wrote in “The Daily Beast.” “Susan Collins told the women of America that they could trust her to protect their reproductive freedom. She let us down.”


New York Magazine called Collins the Senate’s “biggest sucker.”

“Senator Susan Collins’ frequent expressions of  ‘disappointment’ and ‘concern’ over the unsurprisingly extreme actions of her own party are so commonplace that they have become a meme among liberals,” wrote Benjamin Hart. “At times, the Maine Republican seems to be either living in an alternate political universe or playing the role of a well-intentioned naïf on purpose.”

Collins herself is keeping quiet on the topic. She has refused multiple interview requests, referring reporters to her Tuesday statement when asked questions about how she plans to protect the abortion rights she supports if the draft opinion becomes final.

When pressed, Collins’ spokesperson sends reporters to the bill that she introduced this year to codify the protection of Roe v. Wade. That bill, the Reproductive Choice Act, lacks the 60 votes needed to survive a Republican filibuster, which Collins refuses to vote to overturn.

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