Murkowski: Leaked opinion on Roe v. Wade ‘rocks my confidence in the court’
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) told reporters Tuesday that if a leaked opinion striking down Roe v. Wade represents a Supreme Court majority, it “rocks my confidence in the court.”
She also suggested it would mean that conservative nominees gave her the wrong impression about whether they would uphold the right to an abortion.
“If it goes it goes in the direction that this leaked copy has indicated, I will just tell you that it rocks my confidence in the court right now,” she said.
Murkowski said Republican-nominated justices she met with during the Senate confirmation process told her that they viewed Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that established the right to an abortion, as settled law and precedent and gave her the impression they would uphold it.
“I think there were some representations made with regards to precedent and settled [law],” she said, declining to reveal which justices she had in mind. “Comments were made to me and to others about Roe being settled and precedent.”
Fellow centrist Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) released a statement earlier in the day saying that if Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh voted to strike down Roe v. Wade it would be “completely inconsistent” with how they told her they viewed the decision during their Senate confirmation processes.
“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office. Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case,” she said.
Now Murkowski said she’s open to considering legislation to codify Roe v. Wade, something that Democrats are discussing bringing to the floor.
“Sen. Collins and I in February introduced a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade. I thought it made sense then and I think it makes perhaps more sense now,” she said.
But Murkowski also made clear that she’s not happy that conservative Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion leaked Monday.
“The leak is absolutely reprehensible and needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. I really find it shocking that this would happen. I understand it is unprecedented,” she said.
The Alaska senator declined to say whether a potential ruling against Roe v. Wade would change her opinion about reforming the Senate filibuster rule to pave the way for passing legislation to protect abortion rights.
Murkowski and Collins voted in February against the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that broadly prohibited governmental restrictions on access to abortion services.
The bill would have barred governments from limiting access to drugs and abortion services or from requiring health care providers to perform unnecessary medical procedures.
It failed by a vote of 46-48, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) also voting against it.
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