Like Ms. Collins, Ms. Murkowski voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act and is a proponent of abortion rights. With her latest decision, Ms. Murkowski now risks stirring up a backlash from the left, which believes Judge Barrett’s confirmation threatens those very issues.
It could be forceful. After Ms. Collins supported Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018, she became the top target of liberals across the country, who poured millions of dollars into her Democratic opponents’ coffers. Two years later, polls suggest she could lose re-election next month thanks, in large part, to that vote.
The comparison to Ms. Collins is not a perfect one, though. The fight over Justice Kavanaugh was a bitter affair that consumed the nation in a debate over general and sexual violence after he was accused during the proceedings of sexual assault. In this case, polling suggests a majority of the public, including many Democrats, support confirming Judge Barrett. What’s more, Alaska tends to be a more conservative state than Maine, and Ms. Murkowski is so well known that she won a write-in campaign in 2010 after losing the Republican primary.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the group was “deeply disappointed” by Ms. Murkowski’s intended vote in support of Judge Barrett.
“Her extreme views should be disqualifying for anyone who claims to be a champion for women and families,” Ms. Hogue said.
Ms. Murkowski made only glancing comments to abortion rights or the Affordable Care Act during her floor speech, but they suggested she had been reassured by Judge Barrett about how the two issues would fare by the nation’s highest court in the future. She dodged reporters in the Capitol after the speech.
“It was important for me to hear and to better understand her views on precedence and her evaluation process, specifically the weight that she affords reliance on decisions that have been in place for decades, such as Roe v. Wade,” she said in her remarks.