The fate of newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was in Sen. Susan Collins’ hands. The senator from Maine has been known for many years as the party’s most influential moderate. Many were not sure what her vote would ultimately be with Kavanaugh.
In a lengthy speech on Friday, which guaranteed Kavanaugh’s successful confirmation, the GOP centrist let her long-term plan be known. She is embracing the hope that Kavanaugh will be far more moderate than everyone in both parties expects.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank lashed out at Collin’s decision as “a Declaration of Cowardice.” Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern made a case that her remarks were “an insult to Americans’ intelligence.”
But Collins speech seemed to make it clear that the senator found holes in Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. Collins seemed open to the possibility that Ford was assaulted, but was satisfied that Kavanaugh was not responsible.
She reiterated her position on Sunday news shows by indicating, “I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant,” Collins told CNN’s Dana Bash. “I do believe that she was assaulted. I don’t know by whom, and I’m not certain when, but I do not believe that he was the assailant.”
Against this backdrop, CBS News’ John Dickerson reminded Collins yesterday, “Victims of sexual assault have said they would never mistake their attacker. And so by suggesting Dr. Ford is mistaken with her attacker that you and others are making a broader, you’re essentially denying their experience more than just the specific facts of this case.”
That prompted this response from Collins:
“You know when I hear that it causes me huge pain because I have met with so many survivors of sexual attacks, including close friends. And these women have the right to be heard. They have the right to be treated with respect. And I think one of the tragedies of what we’ve just gone through is Christine Blasey Ford wanted to have her allegations treated confidentially. She did not seek the limelight. She did not want to testify in public and because someone leaked the letter that she sent, her whole life has been turned upside down. I think that was wrong and despicable.
“The one silver lining that I hope will come from this is that more women will press charges now when they are assaulted.”