On Friday, the Senate took a procedural vote to end debate on Brett Kavanaugh—President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court—setting the stage for a final vote to confirm or deny Kavanaugh a lifetime position on the SCOTUS Saturday. The vote was 51 for and 49 against.
Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia—who seeks reelection in November—voted yes. However one Republican whose term ends in 2022 voted no.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska defended her decision to vote against advancing Kavanaugh’s nomination by stating,
“In my view, he’s not the right man for the court at this time.”
Murkowski announced she would also vote no on Kavanaugh’s confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. The Alaska Senator was one of three Republicans under heavy pressure to vote no on Kavanaugh.
The other two Senators, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine, voted yes on advancing the nomination. Flake announced he would also vote yes on Saturday. Collins made her final position clear later Friday when she announced she also would vote yes.
Murkowski spent the time before the vote speaking with constituents.
A large voting block for the Alaska Senator to consider are Native Alaskans. The Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures call Alaska home.
Native votes helped Murkowski win as a write-in candidate in 2010 after she lost the Republican primary to a tea party candidate.
Alaska Native groups made clear their stance on Brett Kavanaugh. For them, he was a definite no for a lifetime position on the Supreme Court.
Advocates for Alaska Natives had concerns with the judge’s record on climate change, voting rights and fishing rights. Tribal communities who rely on subsistence fishing in protected federal waters feared the conservative judge could destroy their way of life.
Heather Kendall-Miller, an Alaska Native and an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, said:
“This would be a death knell to us in Alaska, absolutely. If this goes down, Alaska will be in a state of chaos when the fishing season begins. There will be lots of civil disobedience. It will be explosive.”
Murkowski and Maine Senator Collins also received pressure for Women’s rights groups. Both Senators claim to be pro-choice and pro-equality.
Women’s advocacy groups do not see Kavanaugh as supporting the rights of women.
Reaction to Murkowski’s vote was mostly favorable.
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