Leaders of the Alaska Republican Party reportedly are considering reprimanding and possibly pulling its support from Sen. Lisa Murkowski for her vote against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Murkowski was the lone Republican senator not to offer her support for President Donald Trump’s second nominee to the high court, first voting against cloture on Friday and “present” in the final confirmation vote on Saturday.
The Associated Press reported that Alaska Republican Party leaders have asked Murkowski to provide any information she would want the state central committee to consider when deciding potential actions they may take against her.
Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock told the AP that actions by the party could range from issuing a statement against Murkowski to withdrawing support for her re-election bid.
“Murkowski told reporters that if she worried about political repercussions she wouldn’t be able to do the job Alaskans expect her to do,” according to the AP.
In deciding to vote against Kavanaugh, Murkowski acknowledged he is a well-qualified jurist and described him as a “good man,” seemingly negating the character issue Democrats sought to use to scuttle his nomination, relying on uncorroborated sexual misconduct allegations from his high school and college years.
“He’s a good man,” she said from the Senate floor on Friday. “He’s clearly a learned judge. But in my conscience — because that’s how I have to vote at the end of the day, with my conscience — I could not conclude that he is the right person for the court at this time.”
Murkowski did not explain what about Kavanaugh was troubling her conscience, save his conduct during the confirmation hearings.
“A judge should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety,” she said, quoting from Code of Judicial Conduct.
Murkowski argued that Kavanaugh failed to meet that standard, presumably due to his emotional testimony defending himself against the allegation of sexual assault made by Christine Blasey Ford.
Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also contended Kavanaugh’s testimony reflected a lack of judicial temperament.
Trump found Murkowski’s decision to vote against the nominee — who had the support of such establishment Republicans as former President George W. Bush, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham — shocking and “disgraceful.”
“I think it will go down as a sad day for her because he’s going to become a great Supreme Court justice,” Trump told Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night.
President @realDonaldTrump on @lisamurkowski voting no on Kavanaugh: "I think it will go down as a sad day for her because he's going to become a great Supreme Court justice." https://t.co/ULkZtkpY9p pic.twitter.com/atbw1LxGe0
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 7, 2018
“I’ve done so much for Alaska, I’m shocked to see her vote,” he said. “[It’s] a very sad day, I think, for [Murkowski].”
Trump pointed to the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration as an example of something he did for the state, which previous administrations going back decades had tried but failed to accomplish.
Joe Miller — who defeated Murkowski in the 2010 Republican Senate primary, only to lose to her in a close three-way race when she ran as an independent in the general election — was not surprised by his former rival’s decision to vote with the Democrats against Kavanaugh.
“The reason I decided to challenge her in 2010 is because she sided with Senate Democrats more than any Republican up for re-election,” he told The Western Journal.
“On key issues — including the right to life and the need to repeal Obamacare — it was clear to me she did not stand with conservatives and her Senate votes since have borne that out,” he added.
“Now she could not even bring herself to offer her consent to a respected jurist who garnered support from Republicans of all stripes, nominated by a GOP president. I know Alaskans are very disappointed with and embarrassed by her decision,” said Miller.
NOTE: The reporter for this story worked as a press secretary for Joe Miller for his 2010 and 2016 campaigns against Sen. Murkowski. The Western Journal also reached out to Murkowski’s office for comment.
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