IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

GOP senator says she got 'duped' by abortion pill Trump judge

"You want to talk about the ultimate bait and switch?" Lisa Murkowski said about Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who may have misled the Senate to get confirmed.


As we await Supreme Court action on Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's extreme abortion pill ruling, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who helped put him on the bench, said she felt "duped" by the Donald Trump-appointed judge who may have misled the Senate to gain confirmation in 2019.

I noted on the blog earlier this week that Kacsmaryk has some explaining to do after The Washington Post reported over the weekend that, when he was being considered for the judgeship, he asked a Texas law journal to remove him as the author from a controversial article he had previously submitted criticizing Obama-era protections for abortion and transgender people.

The article was published under the name of his colleagues from the religious conservative legal group he worked for at the time, which offered a strange explanation in response to the Post's questions about the name swap. The group said Kacsmaryk was just a "placeholder" when he submitted the article until the final authors were named. At the very least, it's a claim that merits scrutiny, because Kacsmaryk, in seeking the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas judgeship, did not include the article in his list of writings to the Senate as is required for nominees.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, during a Senate hearing on Feb. 16, 2023.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, during a Senate hearing on Feb. 16.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images file

Murkowski was one of the 52 senators to confirm the judge who, in an unprecedented ruling earlier this month, attempted to suspend the Food and Drug Administration's 2000 approval of the commonly used abortion pill mifepristone. The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the ruling (which had been narrowed somewhat by an appeals court) from taking effect at least through Friday. If Kacsmaryk's ruling takes effect, it risks further chaos for reproductive rights that are already in shambles after the GOP majority overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

In light of the Post story on the undisclosed article, Politico reported that Murkowski said in an interview Wednesday:

You want to talk about the ultimate bait and switch? I feel like I got duped. I feel like voted for somebody based on what had been presented to me. And you do this? That is totally, totally wrong.

Given how widely known Kacsmaryk's anti-abortion and other extreme views were at the time of his confirmation, it's difficult to believe that Murkowski didn't know the judge she was voting for. (No Democrats voted for him, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted against him too, making the final tally 52-46.) That said, it's notable that Murkowski has seen fit to call out Kacsmaryk's potential misleading of the Senate.

But it doesn't really matter what Murkowski or any other senator feels. Rather, the question is: What, if anything, are they going to do about it?