Power corrupts

Dear Editor:

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe resulted in some insightful letters to the editor and Hugh Bowden’s trenchant commentary (“Collins must accept responsibility,” June 30). The common theme in them is the duplicitous, if not dishonest, excuse by Susan Collins regarding her role in confirming Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the court, and the potential second order effects of those confirmations.

Jonathan Stolley’s analysis of Collins’ motivations is spot on. Confronting a challenging re-election campaign in which she was lagging in the polls and funding, Collins made the calculated decision, notwithstanding her stated support for reproductive rights, to accede to the interests of her party, seeking its organizational support for her re-election efforts. Only when the result of her votes manifest itself did she engage in posterior covering to blame the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh assurances that Roe was “settled law” to absolve herself from responsibility.

Kavanaugh was confirmed in October 2018. In August 2019, Collins attended a fundraiser at the Northeast Harbor home of Leonard Leo, head of the Federalist Society. Pay back? The Federalist Society, determinative in the nominations of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, has been hyperactive in promoting conservative jurists for the federal bench. Collins’ protestations of being misled are wholly dishonest if she, as she asserted she had, did her homework on Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. Both had expansive judicial records. Barbara Presson establishes this well. Collins “did a deal” on the basis of self-interest.

Peg Cruikshank summarizes the constitutional import of Collins’ votes. The just concluded court term has vast implications for the relationship between church and state. Let’s be crystal clear: the court’s decisions represent nothing less than the majority asserting its theological and political ideology over jurisprudence previously established by more balanced courts. What might be the further implications of Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs in which he solicits challenges to other substantive due process constitutional rights? When those cases arrive, as they will, if Thomas can sway four justices are we prepared for an elimination of contraceptive rights or same-sex marriage because Catholic absolutists dominate the court?

Finally, we come to Hugh Bowden’s coda to the Collins symphony of legislative malfeasance. Bowden masterfully excoriates Collins and establishes beyond doubt that she is nothing more than a cynical politician focused only on electoral self-preservation. Bowden’s final paragraph says it all.

Power corrupts. Collins’ votes on the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh confirmations have doubtless corrupted the court, if not American democracy, for a generation. Collins will have the blood of dead women on her conscience if she possesses one.

Wilson Thomas II


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