National politics was rocked today when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would retire, handing President Donald Trump his second nomination to the highest court.
Attention has already turned to the opening on the bench and the likelihood of a far-right appointment by Trump that lead to major attacks on key rulings like Roe v. Wade.
With that in mind and with what’ll likely be a hurried confirmation process to beat the November elections, attention will likely be laser focused on U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a relative moderate who’s drawn national attention in last year’s fight over Obamacare and other fights.
Here’s what she had to say in a prepared statement about the nomination process and her vote:
“My standards for Supreme Court nominees are extremely high. It is my longstanding practice to carefully scrutinize the qualifications of judicial nominees and to cast an independent vote when judicial nominations come before the Senate,” she said. “There is no doubt that the President’s nominee to succeed Justice Kennedy can expect exacting scrutiny from the Senate and that is the standard I will apply in evaluating the nominee.”
Murkowski makes no mention of particular issues, including abortion. She was one of 54 senators that cast votes to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first appointee to the court, who largely dodged any substantive answers about Roe v. Wade.
Though she’s had a rocky history, Murkowski has generally been a supporter of abortion access and Planned Parenthood and fought against defunding the group during legislative battles last fall.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, meanwhile, released a statement saying he’s looking for a Supreme Court candidate who “believes in textualism”–a legal thinking that focuses purely on the text that was largely championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Here’s what he had to say in a prepared statement about the appointment process:
“Going forward, the President has the opportunity to nominate a justice who believes in textualism as it relates to interpreting the Constitution and statutes, and who understands the importance of federalism and the separation of powers as critical components of safeguarding liberty in our Constitutional order. I look forward to a rigorous nomination process in the Senate and I am hopeful that we can use the now-cancelled August recess to hold hearings to nominate our next Supreme Court Justice.”
Both senators had kind things about the retiring Kennedy.
Murkowski: “I would like to thank Justice Kennedy for his decades of service to our country. As one of the very few westerners on the current court, he has served the court and our nation well. His retirement is a historic moment for the court because he was the swing vote in so many decisions of great consequence. I think he held the court together and did right by the Constitution.”
Sullivan: “I would like to thank Justice Kennedy for his years of service to our nation and for his unwavering commitment to civility. I wish him and his family the very best in their future endeavors.