Walker, Mallott say ‘no’ on Kavanaugh

Gov. Bill Walker (right) and Lt. Gov Byron Mallott announced the don’t want to see Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. (2016 photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov Byron Mallott on Thursday announced they oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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They cited Kavanaugh’s record or presumed positions on health care, labor law and laws important to Alaska Natives.

And, they noted in their written statement, “violence against women in Alaska is an epidemic.” They referred to the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh and said they couldn’t condone his confirmation while so many questions remain unanswered. (Kavanaugh vigorously disputes the allegation.)

Governors, of course, have no direct say in confirming U.S. Supreme Court justices. But the announcement adds heft to the Kavanaugh opposition in Alaska, and Kavanaugh’s detractors hope it will influence Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key Republican swing vote.

Murkowski, and Sen. Dan Sullivan, separately spoke to Kavanaugh after the Alaska Federation of Natives raised concerns about him. Both senators say they’re convinced Kavanaugh does not intend to undermine the legal status of Alaska Natives or the laws and programs that help them.

Walker, an independent, and Mallott, a Democrat, are running for re-election, but this announcement came from their state offices, not their campaign.

Democratic challenger Mark Begich previously announced his opposition to Kavanaugh. Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy announced his support for Kavanaugh in July.

The Association of Village Council Presidents is now among the Native groups opposing Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The group says its board sent a letter to Sen. Murkowski stating its solidarity with AFN.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Liz here.

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