Collins, Manchin and other lawmakers react to the Supreme Court draft opinion

By | May 3, 2022

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Tuesday expressed outrage over the Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade — but not for the same reasons.

While Democrats decried the potential rollback of guaranteed federal protections for abortion rights, Republicans were furious over the disclosure of the highly sensitive document, which Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed is authentic.

Though it’s possible the outcome could change between now and when the court hands down the decision, members of Congress are already speculating on the legal, political and social ramifications of a world without Roe — from how this plays into an election year to what it means for Americans in roughly half of U.S. states where virtually all abortions would be banned.

Here’s a roundup of notable responses from members of Congress.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)

“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice [Neal] Gorsuch and Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,” Collins said in a statement. “Obviously, we won’t know each Justice’s decision and reasoning until the Supreme Court officially announces its opinion in this case.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

“The filibuster is the only protection we have in democracy,” Manchin said. “I’m not going to comment on a leak from the Supreme Court.”

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Whip Steve Scalise and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)

“Yesterday’s unprecedented leak is an attempt to severely damage the Supreme Court. This clearly coordinated campaign to intimidate and obstruct the Justices of the United States Supreme Court, and its independence in our political system, from upholding the Constitution must immediately be investigated by the court.

“House Republicans are committed to upholding the sanctity of life, and we will continue to fight to be a voice for the truly voiceless. There is nothing more special, extraordinary, and worth fighting for than the miracle of life,” their statement said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

“End the filibuster. Codify #RoeVWade with a national law protecting abortion rights. Expand the Supreme Court. Stop this horrifying injustice in its tracks,” Warren tweeted.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

“Roe is still the law of the land. We don’t know the direction that this decision may ultimately take,” Murkowski told reporters. “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 also said the draft “rocks my confidence in the court right now.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

“The Republican-appointed Justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe v. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.

“Several of these conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the American people, have lied to the U.S. Senate, ripped up the Constitution and defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court’s reputation — all at the expense of tens of millions of women who could soon be stripped of their bodily autonomy and the constitutional rights they’ve relied on for half a century.

“The party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has now completely devolved into the party of Trump. Every Republican Senator who supported Senator McConnell and voted for Trump Justices pretending that this day would never come will now have to explain themselves to the American people,” the statement said.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“Last night’s stunning breach was an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court. By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left’s ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law.

“The disgraceful statements by President [Joe] Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer refuse to defend judicial independence and the rule of law and instead play into this toxic spectacle. Real leaders should defend the Court’s independence unconditionally.

“This lawless action should be investigated and punished as fully as possible. The Chief Justice must get to the bottom of it and the Department of Justice must pursue criminal charges if applicable.

“All nine Justices should tune out the bad-faith noise and feel totally free to do their jobs, following the facts and the law where they lead,” the statement said.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)

“A woman’s health care choices should be between her, her family, and her doctor. Overturning Roe v. Wade endangers the health and wellbeing of women in Arizona and across America.

“Protections in the Senate safeguarding against the erosion of women’s access to health care have been used half-a-dozen times in the past ten years, and are more important now than ever.

“Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve always supported women’s access to health care, I’m a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, and I’ll continue working with anyone to protect women’s ability to make decisions about their futures,” Sinema said in a statement.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)

“We could protect Roe tomorrow, but Sinema refuses to act on the filibuster. Until that changes she can take a seat talking about ‘women’s access to health care.’ Hold everyone contributing to this disaster accountable, GOP & Dem obstructionists included. She should be primaried,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter, in response to Sinema’s statement.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

“It is a sad day for the Supreme Court and a dangerous day for the Rule of Law. The radical assault on our institutions and the Constitution itself has reached a new level with the release of a draft opinion on a major issue facing the Court,” Graham said in a tweet.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

“Make no mistake, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will be harmed and some will die. It happened before Roe became the law of the land and it will happen again, particularly since this decision will harm low-income and at-risk women more than anyone,” Feinstein said on Twitter.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)

“No turning back now. Roe must be overruled,” the congressman’s press office said on Twitter. 

Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.)

“This is bullshit,” Smith posted on Twitter, retweeting POLITICO’s article.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

“The stunning leak of the documents showing that the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade is corrosive to the Court. It is an outrageous consequence of the Democrats’ efforts to undermine the Court!” Cruz said on Twitter.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

“With far-right justices poised to overturn Roe, the lives of millions of Americans depend on us. We must codify the right to an abortion into federal law — even if it means eliminating the filibuster. We must flip state legislatures. And states like NY must open our doors,” Gillibrand said on Twitter.