You may recall that one of the reactions that progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren had to the Texas abortion law was to suggest that Congress should “codify Roe.” Rather than rely on a Supreme Court precedent which is looking a bit shaky now, Congress could simply pass the elements of Roe into law on their own.
Of course, in order to pass Roe into law, Democrats would first have to nuke the filibuster in the Senate because they definitely don’t have 60 votes to override GOP opposition at this point. As it happens, nuking the filibuster is something a lot of progressives want to do anyway. Roe is just a new excuse to push Democrats in the Senate to pull the trigger.
But even if you did convince Democrats to go that far, would they even have 50 votes to pass a bill codifying Roe? That’s not clear. It’s probably safe to assume Sen. Manchin is going to be against such a bill. That means that even without the filibuster, Democrats would need to win over one of the two pro-abortion GOP Senators, Senator Collins and/or Sen. Murkowski.
Today, the LA Times reports that Sen. Collins is a no, at least on the bill to codify Roe that Democrats are currently pursuing.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Tuesday she opposes the Democrats’ bill, which would prohibit states from enacting restrictions on abortion through fetal viability…
Democrats, led by bill author Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, say their legislation would “codify” the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
But in a brief interview, Collins said the bill goes further than that by interfering with existing law that ensures health professionals who object to abortion are not required to participate in it.
“I support codifying Roe. Unfortunately the bill … goes way beyond that. It would severely weaken the conscious exceptions that are in the current law,” Collins said, adding that she found parts of the bill’s language “extreme.”
Democrats are considering bringing the bill up for a vote in the Senate even though they haven’t nuked the filibuster yet. They just want to get everyone on the record of where they stand ahead of the 2022 midterms. The LA Times notes that there are actually two Democrats who haven’t said how they would vote yet, Sen. Manchin and Sen. Bob Casey. All of the other 48 Democratic Senators are on board.
So the bottom line here is that if they’ve lost Manchin (likely) and Collins (definite) they have to get Sens. Casey and Murkowski in line and then they have to nuke the filibuster to get this done. Even then, the bill that was passed would certainly face court challenges. Some judge in Texas might issue a national injunction of the kind that were commonplace during the Trump administration. And even if the bill eventually survived those challenges, the next GOP Congress could simply undo the entire law or rewrite it to be more in line with the current Texas law. Codifying Roe’s big downside is that the next congress can just as easily un-codify it.
AOC actually suggested an alternative to codifying Roe that would solve the problem of dealing with any future congress. She suggested Democrats should nuke the filibuster and then pack the Supreme Court with progressives who could give the correct ruling to preserve Roe (or whatever bill the congress puts through codifying it).
Of course that doesn’t stop the GOP from packing the court in the future and the new Supreme Court with 17 or more justices ending Roe somewhere down the line. Nothing is really permanent in our system except winning people over to your side through argument. Despite nearly 50 years of cultural and media propaganda in support of Roe, Democrats haven’t manage to do that.
Finally, you have to feel something for Sen. Collins. The left really hates her for putting Kavanaugh on the court and starting back in 2018 she was getting death threats. Rep. Swalwell even mocked her over the threats at the time. Now her refusal to back this bill is going to bring a fresh wave of left-wing hate her way. Nobody needs that.
Update: The left reacting about as well as expected to this.
The fact that Susan Collins won’t participate in this last chance to save Roe tells you all you need to know https://t.co/QlScePu8Cx
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) September 22, 2021
I have no words left for the hypocrisy of Susan Collins. https://t.co/mZlHo2HLHU
— Ilyse Hogue (@ilyseh) September 22, 2021
At what point do we just stop perpetuating the myth that Susan Collins actually supports abortion rights? In how many more high-stakes ways can she fall short of the bare minimum in defending them? https://t.co/w4T7xRxT1Y
— Emmy Bengtson (@EmmyA2) September 22, 2021
Susan Collins can fuck off.
— Mayo (@MayoIsSpicyy) September 22, 2021
I tried to come up with a good joke but I can’t.
Susan Collins can go fuck herself.she is absolute trash.
Sometimes I just need to stick with the classics.
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) September 22, 2021
Kavanaugh voter, Susan Collins won’t support abortion-rights bill. Witch. pic.twitter.com/oJ0APwmu9h
— Outspoken (@Out5p0ken) September 22, 2021
Can we just put Susan Collins in the lap of Abbott and get it done!?? pic.twitter.com/b9H68STYvI
— 🍷Zanetta🍷 (@therealzanetta) September 22, 2021
There’s a lot more if you’re interested in looking for it but I’m not going to single out a bunch of people with under 1,000 followers.