A Washington, D.C. lawyer e-mails:
Collins and Snowe both voted against Pryor, didn’t they? Abortion explains those votes. Pryor is on record calling Roe the greatest abomination in the history of constitutional law, and both Maine Senators are committed to preserving Roe. The reason they could support Owen, but not Pryor, is because the Owen nomination involved an issue at the margins of the abortion debate — parental notification. (I’m not sure, but Collins and Snowe may well support parental-involvement laws themselves.) Pryor’s nomination presented, full-frontal, the core issue of whether abortion should be permitted.
I agree with that. I would also say that it shows that these Senators do not understand the distinction between a nominee’s personal views and their legal views. Judge Pryor knows full well that Roe (or, rather, that hybrid-child of Justices O’Connor, Souter, and Kennedy, Casey) is the law of the land, and he will follow it so long as it is so. That’s part of a judge’s job, and there was no evidence that Pryor would do otherwise.