Democrats and liberal groups on Friday pointed to a Supreme Court ruling in an abortion case to argue that Justice Brett Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, focusing their ire on Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who supported Kavanaugh’s nomination last year and faces a tough 2020 reelection.
The outcry from the left follows the court’s 5-to-4 vote to block a restrictive Louisiana abortion law. The 2014 law, which has never been enforced, would effectively shutter most of the state’s abortion clinics by requiring physicians at those facilities to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
While Democrats hailed the decision, they pointed to Kavanaugh’s dissent as a sign that he is poised to side with conservatives in future rulings on abortion rights.
In his dissent, Kavanaugh said there was a dispute about whether the physicians in the Louisiana case could obtain admitting privileges, and that a 45-day grace period would have provided time to settle that question.
Democrats are particularly incensed at Collins, who delivered a 44-minute-long floor speech in October declaring her support for Kavanaugh. At the time, Collins, who supports abortion rights, said she did not think Kavanaugh would vote to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.
Collins’ communications director, Annie Clark, said it was ‘‘clear that a lot of the critics of Justice Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion haven’t even read it.’’
‘‘If the far left groups weren’t targeting Senator Collins for Justice Kavanaugh, they would be targeting her for something else,’’ Clark added.
Brian Fallon, director of Demand Justice, a liberal group that opposed the Kavanaugh nomination, said the group will launch a digital ad buy of more than $10,000 next week in Maine to inform voters of how Collins’ vote for Kavanaugh helped lead to the close call in Thursday’s ruling. He said coming Supreme Court cases that will be decided before the next election, on issues such as abortion, immigration and transgender troops, will provide more opportunities to make the Kavanaugh vote costly for Collins.