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Murkowski needs to check in with her office

Murkowski needs to check in with her office

by digby

She has a problem on her hands if she votes for Kavanaugh:

For all the speculation about Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and whether she’ll vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, there is an issue beyond abortion rights perhaps weighing more heavily on her as she makes her decision: protections for Alaska Natives.

Advocates for Alaska Natives, who were crucial to Murkowski’s re-election in 2010, tell HuffPost they’ve been flooding her office all week and urging her to oppose Kavanaugh.

They’re raising concerns about his record on climate change, which is already causing real damage in Alaska. As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh in 2017 held that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the authority to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, chemicals linked to global warming. They’re also unhappy with his record on voting rights. Kavanaugh voted in 2012 to uphold a South Carolina voter ID law that disenfranchised more than 80,000 minority registered voters.

The most pressing matter, however, is a case the Supreme Court is reviewing on Nov. 5 that could devastate Alaska Natives’ subsistence fishing rights. The case, Sturgeon v. Frost, raises questions about who has the authority to regulate water in national parks in the state ― the federal government or the state of Alaska. The case arose after Alaska resident John Sturgeon, who was on an annual moose-hunting trip, was riding a hovercraft on a river running through a national park when Park Service officials threatened to give him a citation. Sturgeon is arguing that his ability to use his hovercraft in this scenario is about states’ rights and that federal authority should be eliminated.

Kavanaugh has previously ruled to limit federal power in cases before him. If he gets confirmed and votes with the other four right-leaning justices in favor of Sturgeon’s argument, it will destroy the way of life for tribal communities who rely on subsistence fishing in protected federal waters, some Alaska Native rights groups say.

“This would be a death knell to us in Alaska, absolutely,” said Heather Kendall-Miller, an Alaska Native and an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund. “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.”


They are also worried about health care since a large majority of Alaska natives benefit from Medicaid and Obamacare. (So do plenty of non-native Alaskans for that matter.)

Breaking with the man who thinks it's funny and cool to call Elizabeth Warren "Pocohontas" won't hurt her:

[T]he Republican senator owes her 2010 re-election to tribal communities, so anything harmful to them is going to be a significant issue for her.

That year, Murkowski unexpectedly lost her primary to a tea party challenger. She responded by running as an independent, launching a write-in campaign and winning the race against all odds. Whose support didn’t she have? The Republican Party. Whose support did she have? Alaska Natives, who turned out for her and fueled her victory.

“If the Alaska Native community raises its decibel level on matters from subsistence to civil rights, that would register with Sen. Murkowski,” said a source familiar with Murkowski’s thinking, who requested anonymity to speak freely.


Here's what her fearless leader has wrought: