FACT CHECK: Stephen King Claims That Susan Collins Was Silent On ‘Unfair’ Treatment Of Merrick Garland

Emily Larsen | Fact Check Reporter

Author Stephen King said in a tweet that Republican Sen. Susan Collins was “silent” about the “unfair” treatment of Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

“On the unfair way Merrill [sic] Garland was treated, Susan Collins was silent,” King tweeted Oct. 6.

Verdict: False

Collins called for a hearing on Garland many times in 2016 and publicly disagreed with Republican leaders who would not move forward on his nomination.

Fact Check:

King sent the tweet on the day the Senate voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Collins, considered one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, was undecided on Kavanaugh’s confirmation until the day before the final vote, but ended up voting in his favor.

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican leadership said that they would not move forward on any Supreme Court nominee because it was a presidential election year and the end of Obama’s last term.

“The nomination should be made by the president that the people elect in the election that’s now underway,” McConnell told reporters at the time.

Obama nominated Garland in March 2016, but he never received a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His nomination expired after 293 days.

Collins publicly disagreed with Republican leadership on many occasions in 2016, arguing that the Senate should follow the regular process for considering Supreme Court nominees.

“I think it’s unfortunate that we’re in the kind of situation that we’re in today because we really owe a duty to the American people to give this nominee fair consideration,” she said in an MSNBC interview in March 2016.

She also told Maine radio station WGAN in March that she was confused by McConnell’s position. “I must confess that I’m a bit perplexed by his position,” Collins said. “I’m not quite sure what his thinking is, but it’s clearly one that he believes strongly in.”

Despite Republican leadership’s insistence on no hearings, she met privately with Garland in April 2016. “The next step, in my view, should be public hearings before the Judiciary Committee so that the issues that we explored in my office can be publicly aired,” Collins told reporters after the meeting.

She said in a PBS NewsHour interview after the meeting that she understood McConnell’s point of view, but did not agree with it and again called for a regular process. “There have been political shenanigans on both sides of the aisle when it comes to the Supreme Court. I think it would be better if we depoliticize the process,” Collins said.

Collins said in an August 2016 interview that Republican tactics could backfire if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the presidential election that year. “They may be hoisted on their own petard here,” she told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “If Hillary is elected, I believe that she is much more likely to nominate someone who is to the left of Merrick Garland, because I believe that President Obama deliberately and wisely, in my view, chose someone who was a centrist.”

Collins voted in favor of Obama’s two other Supreme Court picks, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan.

King was unable to comment for this article in time for publication.

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Emily Larsen

Fact Check Reporter