About 20 protesters greeted Maine Sen. Susan Collin before a campaign fundraiser at the Northeast Harbor home of a man known for advising President Trump on his judicial nominations.

Groups opposed to the Republican senator for her vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court posted video of themselves Thursday outside the Mount Desert Island home of Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society, who has been dubbed Trump’s “judge whisperer.”

The Federalist Society, which pushes for an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, backed Trump’s nominations of Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. The conservative justices are among five of the nine current justices who are former members of the society, the Washington Post reported.

Democrats and women’s rights groups broadly criticized Collins for her vote to confirm Kavanaugh, who had been accused of sexual assault during his high school years. Collins has faced increasing scrutiny for her vote, which also prompted a crowdfunding campaign  that started before the confirmation vote on Kavanaugh that has raised more than $4 million for Collins’ eventual Democratic challenger, to be decided during a party primary next June.

Collins has said she’s received praise from many of her constituents for the stance she took on Kavanaugh. She has said she believed Kavanaugh’s accuser had been a victim of sexual assault, but that she did not believe that Kavanaugh was the perpetrator.

“Many people have thanked me for my vote, and have said that they were very pleased that I did the right thing, and that I applied the judgment that I did,” Collins told a reporter for the Morning Sentinel last October.


On Friday, the Maine Democratic Party blasted Collins and offered statements from some of the protesters outside Leo’s home.

“I’m out here because there is nothing moderate about the Federalist Society and there’s nothing moderate about the many judges they have put forward – including Brett Kavanaugh – that Susan Collins has approved,” Gail Leiser, a Bar Harbor resident and one of the protesters, said in a prepared statement. “Susan Collins was elected as a moderate – unfortunately she has abandoned everyday Mainers and now votes in lockstep with the most right-wing elements of the Republican Party.”

Kevin Kelley, a spokesman for Collins’ reelection campaign, dismissed the criticism in an email to the Press Herald late Friday.

“It’s laughable that the same people who tried to buy Sen. Collins’ vote for more than $4 million are now saying she sold her vote in exchange for a 20-person fundraiser in Maine,” Kelley said.




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