November 6, 2016
ANCHORAGE, AK – Candidates for the U.S. Senate from Alaska met on November 3rd for the last debate of this campaign season. During this debate and throughout the campaign, Independent Margaret Stock has clearly presented her positions on the issues, including her support for holding a hearing and vote on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Stock’s clear position starkly contrasts with Lisa Murkowski’s extreme, partisan flip-flops on the issue. Murkowski first told Alaskans that she supported an “up or down” vote, but now supports the longest delay of a Supreme Court nominee in U.S. history—and Murkowski is now desperately trying to muddy the waters about where she stands.
Murkowski dug a hole for herself during this last debate. She tried to justify her opposition to holding a hearing and vote out of deference to the wishes of the Senate Judiciary Chairman who opposed moving the nomination. Murkowski’s excuse is a cop-out, since every Senator has the responsibility to speak out on important issues.
Murkowski also shared during the debate that filibustering is “not an approach that is appropriate when it comes to ensuring the opportunity for an up and down vote,” mentioning in that context “particularly” District Court nominees. But why is filibustering inappropriate for District Court judges, and not for Supreme Court nominees? And, with regard to Garland, the Supreme Court nominee, Murkowski is not even allowing an opportunity for a filibuster to take place because she is even opposed to allowing the process to get that far.
Furthermore, the Senate is not even voting on District Court nominees. The American Bar Association notes that “The judicial vacancies problem has reached crisis point,” with more than one-third of the current 103 vacancies in the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the District Courts having existed for at least 18 months.”
When challenged about her positon by Margaret Stock at the debate, Murkowski denied that she had ever tweeted that the nominee should not have a hearing “given the timing of this vacancy, in the middle of an election.” After her comments, members of the public immediately posted on Facebook Murkowski’s tweets about just that. (These tweets are included in the photo above and can be found on Facebook.) In fact, there is absolutely no precedent for such a delay which is harmful to Alaska and the country.
Murkowski continued to dig a deeper hole when she tried to have it both ways. Murkowski said that she did not have an opinion yet on the nominee because no hearings had yet been held, yet she is opposed to holding the hearings through which she could learn about him. This position is even more incoherent because Murkowski also said she supposedly supported the hearing “process.”
Alaska has a choice to send Independent Margaret Stock to Washington, D.C. as Alaska’s Senator. Stock says what she means and does what she says. Stock does not flip-flop on the issues. She is beholden to no party. Alaska does not have to send a party-over-people senator to D.C.