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Sen. Sullivan meets with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: September 30
  • Published September 30

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

Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan on Wednesday met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s third nominee to the Supreme Court.

In a video message posted after the meeting, Sullivan said Barrett is “clearly a thoughtful and intelligent jurist.” Sullivan said the almost 45-minute meeting was wide-ranging but largely focused on Alaska issues.

Barrett, if confirmed by the Senate, would replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18. While Democrats object to holding a confirmation vote on Ginsburg’s replacement ahead of the Nov. 3 election, Republicans have welcomed Barrett’s nomination — she clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and has said she shares his judicial philosophy.

In a brief video shared by Sullivan’s office of the senator meeting Barrett ahead of their discussion, Sullivan congratulated the judge, complimented her “very impressive background” and said he wanted their discussion to focus on Alaska.

“We have a lot of unique Alaska issues that a lot of judges sometimes miss,” Sullivan said.

After the meeting, Sullivan said in a video message they “talked about how unique our state was, but also how there are many unique, complicated laws, such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and ANILCA, the Trans Alaska Pipeline Act, even the Tax Act of 2017, which has a whole section on the opening of ANWR.”

“We went into depth about how federal courts often misinterpret these very important laws for our state, which could do huge damage to Alaska,” Sullivan said.

They also spent time discussing Alaskan John Sturgeon’s Supreme Court case, Sullivan said, which clarified the application of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

“I respectfully gave her this case and asked her to read it," Sullivan said.

Sullivan added that Barrett is “a strong defender of the Second Amendment” and that they had “a deep discussion also on the issue of the power and limitations of federal agencies.”

“I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more of her views as the Judiciary Committee hearings kick into gear,” Sullivan said.

In 2016, Sullivan opposed an election-year vote to confirm former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. Sullivan said last week he “does believe Alaskans deserve the chance to weigh in on an election-year nomination dispute between a president and Senate of different parties with very different visions for the direction of the Court. That was the case in 2016. It is not the case now, given that Alaskans and the American people elected a Republican president and an expanded Republican Senate majority.”

Sullivan’s opponent in this year’s Senate race, the Democratic-nominated independent Al Gross, has said the Senate should wait until after the election is decided to confirm a new Supreme Court justice.

In a statement Saturday, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she was open to meeting Barrett, even though she has said she does not support considering a replacement for Ginsburg ahead of the election.

“The president exercised his constitutional authority to nominate an individual to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg," Murkowski said. “I welcome the opportunity to meet with the Supreme Court nominee, just as I did in 2016."

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