Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of just two Republican senators to publicly express support for abortion rights, has voted for dozens of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees who have signaled they are against abortion.
The veteran lawmaker has supported over 90% of Trump’s picks for federal judge positions, including 32 nominees who have indicated they oppose abortion rights, according to research compiled by NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Democratic political action committee American Bridge.
“Actions speak louder than words, and no amount of pro-choice rhetoric will change the fact that Senator Collins has voted to confirm over 30 anti-choice Trump judicial nominations,” Alex Stack, a spokesman for the Maine Democratic Party, said in a statement to HuffPost. “Any pro-choice credibility Senator Collins built up over the past two decades in Washington is officially gone.”
Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for Collins, said the Maine lawmaker evaluates judicial nominees based on a consistent set of criteria, including judicial temperament and respect for precedent, no matter who happens to be president.
“One factor she does not consider is the nominee’s personal beliefs, political or otherwise,” Clark said in a statement to HuffPost. “She does, however, evaluate whether a nominee can set aside these beliefs and rule fairly and impartially.”
She noted that Collins has supported over 90% of judges appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents.
“While this approach might seem novel in today’s hyperpartisan climate, it used to be the norm,” Clark said. “By any normal yardstick, Senator Susan Collins is a pro-choice Republican.”
Though Trump repeatedly stated that he planned to nominate justices with the intention of overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion legal in all 50 states, Collins voted to confirm both of his nominees ― Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh ― to the Supreme Court.
She famously helped cinch Kavanaugh’s confirmation in October despite multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him from the 1980s. Her vote drew intense backlash from Democrats and women across the country.