Maine Senator Susan Collins has been at the center of much of the debate surrounding the vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In the past, Collins has bolted party lines to vote with the Democrats, most memorably in the summer of 2017 when she sided with them to save the ACA. As a result, she's been one of a handful of Senators whose vote could potentially stop him.
Collins has not indicated how she plans to vote in tomorrow's procedural (which will let Mitch McConnell know if he has enough votes to proceed to an official confirmation this weekend), but she may have tipped her hand when she told CNN this morning that the FBI's investigation into Kavanaugh's misdeeds "appears to have been very thorough."
Although Collins had not yet read the FBI's report when she made these remarks, enough evidence exists to suggest it was anything but thorough. The bureau did not interview either Brett Kavanaugh or his first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. They interviewed his second accuser, Debra Ramirez, but chose not to speak with the 20 additional people she named who could corroborate her account. The White House, which controlled much of the investigation, also prevented the bureau from investigating Kavanaugh's lies about his alcoholism. The report was sent to the Senate last night and has not been made available to the public. It appears unlikely that Republican leaders will offer that courtesy, as their eagerness to ram Kavanaugh through knows no bounds.
With the exception of Jeff Flake, whose emotional encounter with an assault survivor went viral last weekend, Collins has received the most ire from the anti-Kavanaugh fervor sweeping Democratic women throughout the nation. Her female constituents in Maine, who oppose Kavanaugh 54-33%, have been arrested in her Portland office for protesting. A crowdfunding campaign to find a Democratic challenger for her re-election in 2020 is close to achieving its goal of $2 million. Today, these brave women below rode from Maine to Senator Collins' Washington office to share their stories of surviving sexual assault and pleading that she vote no.
Collins herself must know she is playing with fire. If she votes yes on Kavanaugh, then he will most likely be the fifth deciding vote on overturning Roe v. Wade, and possibly even Griswold v. Connecticut, the decision that allowed women to obtain birth control. And yet she has continued to play Hamlet with the press, refusing to say what she will do. Today was the clearest indication so far that she plans on voting the party line to confirm the most unqualified, disgraceful nominee since Clarence Thomas.
Fortunately, there is still time. If you live in Maine, call her office or flood her inbox with emails. This is a crucial moment in the history of our democracy - and we may not have a democracy left if Collins capitulates to her Republican and corporate overlords to install one of their own on the highest court in the land.