In this Sept. 6 file photo, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the third day of his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The #MeToo movement faces a dramatic test of its impact and staying power as U.S. senators assess sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. (AP Photo | J. Scott Applewhite)

In this Sept. 6 file photo, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the third day of his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The #MeToo movement faces a dramatic test of its impact and staying power as U.S. senators assess sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. (AP Photo | J. Scott Applewhite)

Walker opposes Kavanaugh confirmation

Governor, lieutenant governor cite health care, Native issues and sexual assault allegation

Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott issued a joint statement Thursday declaring their opposition to the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Though state governors don’t have a role in confirming U.S. Supreme Court justices, President Donald Trump’s selection of Kavanaugh has become a decisive issue for many voters in this fall’s general election. Independent incumbent Walker is being challenged in his bid for re-election by Democrat Mark Begich, Republican Mike Dunleavy and Libertarian Billy Toien, and all have expressed their opinions about Kavanaugh’s appointment.

Walker issued his statement through official channels rather than campaign ones, however, making opposition to Kavanaugh the official policy of the governor’s office.

In the statement, Walker and Mallott said they oppose Kavanaugh’s appointment because “key aspects of our nation’s health care and labor laws may be at risk if Mr. Kavanaugh receives a lifetime appointment.”

They added that “Mr. Kavanaugh’s appointment could also jeopardize the Indian Child Welfare Act, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and other laws that enable tribal self-determination” and raised concerns about allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh.

“Violence against women in Alaska is an epidemic. We do not condone placing someone into one of our nation’s highest positions of power while so many key questions remain unanswered,” the Walker-Mallott statement said.

The statement was not entirely unexpected. In a Tuesday interview on statewide public radio, Walker said he was leaning against the confirmation and had spoken to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, about his concerns. While fellow Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan has previously voiced support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Murkowski is one of a handful of senators who has not committed for or against his confirmation.

Walker has previously declined to express an opinion on the Supreme Court issue. When Kavanaugh was named as a nominee in July, Walker issued a statement noting that he has “limited influence over the Supreme Court confirmation process.”

Begich has consistently opposed Kavanaugh’s nomination, and he took to Twitter shortly after the announcement: “It shouldn’t take (Gov. Bill Walker) this long to stand up for Alaskans, but glad to see him finally putting Alaskans ahead of partisan politics. Where’s (Mike Dunleavy)?”

Dunleavy has consistently supported Kavanaugh’s appointment, saying in a July statement that “I’m very optimistic about his prospects for being confirmed.”

By phone late Thursday, Toien said he is also opposed to Kavanaugh’s appointment.

“I am opposed to the appointment of Kavanaugh because he leans more to precedent than he does to the original meaning of the Constitution, and to me, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, not precedent,” he said.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Sept. 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

Faith Rogers’ family, from left to right, James Rogers (father), Michelle Rogers (sister), Harmony Wentz (daughter), Maria Rogers (mother) and Mindy Voigt (friend) sit with Faith’s three dogs in their family home. Faith Rogers, 55, of Juneau was found dead along a popular trail on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Police are investigating the death as a homicide. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
‘It’s shocking’: Family hopes for answers after suspicious death of loved one

“She wanted to make things beautiful, to help make people beautiful…”

People work together to raise the Xa’Kooch story pole, which commemorates the Battle of the Inian Islands. (Shaelene Grace Moler / For the Capital City Weekly)
Resilient Peoples & Place: The Xa’Kooch story pole — one step toward a journey of healing

“This pole is for the Chookaneidi, but here among us, many clans are represented…”

A bracket fungus exudes guttation drops and a small fly appears to sip one of them.( Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Water drops on plants

Guttation drops contain not only water but also sugars, proteins, and probably minerals.

A chart shows what critics claim is poor financial performance by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, especially in subsidizing private industry projects intended to boost the state’s economy, during its 55-year existence. The chart is part of a report released Tuesday criticizing the agency. (MB Barker/LLC Erickson & Associates/EcoSystems LLC)
AIDEA’s fiscal performance fishy, critics say

Report presented by salmon industry advocates asserts state business subsidy agency cost public $10B

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a foreign vessel in the Bering Sea, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across the guided missile cruiser from the People's Republic of China, officials said Monday, Sept. 26.  (U.S. Coast Guard District 17 via AP)
Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

This wasn’t the first time Chinese naval ships have sailed near Alaska waters.

An Alaska judge has ruled that a state lawmaker affiliated with the Oath Keepers, Rep. David Eastman, shown in this February 2022 photo, may stay on the general election ballot in November even though he's likely ineligible to hold public office  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge ordered delaying certifying the result of the race until a trial scheduled for December.

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the region. It was a massive storm system — big enough to cover the mainland U.S. from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas. It influenced weather systems as far away as California, where a rare late-summer storm dropped rain on the northern part of the state, offering a measure of relief to wildfire crews but also complicating fire suppression efforts because of mud and loosened earth. (AP Photo / Peggy Fagerstrom)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

ANCHORAGE — There’s been significant damage to some roads and homes in… Continue reading

Most Read