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An insult to the legacy of Justice Ginsburg

  • Author: Jessica Cler
    | Opinion
  • Updated: October 26
  • Published October 26

Senator Dan Sullivan met with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 30, 2020. (Photo provided by Sen. Sullivan office)

It is not controversial to say that 2020 has been a challenging year for many. But what is controversial, is how Sen. Dan Sullivan quietly stands behind the president and can’t seem to bring himself to give a straight answer about this administration’s actions.

Sen. Sullivan voted Monday to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, after insisting in 2016 that we shouldn’t fill Supreme Court seats in a presidential election year.

We are at a critical moment in this country when it comes to reproductive health and rights. The Senate confirmation of Barrett as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice concludes the Senate majority’s unprecedented and illegitimate confirmation process led by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which Sen. Sullivan was all too happy to support.

His support for this rushed process to fill the Supreme Court vacancy before passing any pandemic relief says everything you need to know about Sen. Sullivan. That he has a complete disregard for this public health crisis that has taken the lives of more than 225,000, and left 7.9% of the workforce without a job.

With so much at stake, Barrett is a threat to any progress we have made and any progress we hope to make. With Barrett on the bench, we will see Roe v. Wade overturned and the Affordable Care Act dismantled.

Sen. Sullivan’s support comes as no surprise because he has voted more than 10 times to gut the Affordable Care Act, which would eliminate health care coverage for more than 75,000 Alaskans.

He has voted to “defund” Planned Parenthood. He praised the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision that allowed employers to refuse to cover birth control for employees on religious grounds — regardless of the employee’s beliefs.

Beyond reproductive health care, Sen. Sullivan continually sits on the sidelines on almost all issues: As the state struggles with COVID-19, he has done nothing to move a much-needed second coronavirus relief package. He also stood silent when the administration threatened to block funding to the U.S. Postal Service. As an Alaskan, he should know better: the mail is a lifeline in Alaska, a way for people to get their medication, hear from family, and vote. Even Pebble Mine executives know he’s “off in a corner being quiet.”

On these issues and so many more, Sen. Sullivan is quiet and out of touch with 59% of Alaskans who support access to abortion. Right now, 17 abortion-related cases are one step from the Supreme Court, which is a dangerous place to be.

This is why elections matter. It is also why we endorse Dr. Al Gross for the U.S. Senate.

The people of Alaska want access to affordable health care, reproductive freedom, and an economy that works for everyone. Dr. Gross understands the challenges people in Alaska face when trying to access the health care they need.

All the candidates we have endorsed don’t just show up for reproductive health and rights, they understand the intersections that can prevent people from accessing health care. These candidates support reproductive rights, Medicaid expansion, the Affordable Care Act and LGBTQ rights.

Do not wake up on Nov. 4 wishing you had done more. Vote early, get others to vote, and tell your family and friends what is at stake this election.

Today, we were delivered a blow with Justice Barrett, but there is still time to make history and make our future generations proud.

Jessica Cler is the Alaska State Director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai’i.

The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)adn.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@adn.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and commentaries here.

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