Daines to meet Thursday with Supreme Court nominee

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines said he will meet Thursday with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, which comes amid a debate over whether it was proper for the president to offer a candidate for the seat weeks away from Election Day.

President Donald J. Trump nominated Barrett, 48, to fill the vacancy created by the Sept, 18 death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trump called Barrett “a woman of remarkable intellect and character.”

Daines, R-Mont., said he was looking forward to his meeting with Barrett.

“I’m going to talk about the importance of upholding the rule of law and protecting our Montana way of life, the Second Amendment and Montana jobs,” he said in an email.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock , who is running for senate against Daines, have said the decision should be by whoever is elected president Nov. 3. They also said Daines was against such an appointment in 2016 when Democratic President Barack Obama tried to fill a Supreme Court seat, and he noted it was an election year.

Daines said it is different this time around as the president and the Senate majority are both Republican, which was not the case in 2016.

Eleven members of Montana’s Indian Caucus recently urged Daines not to fill the seat at this time.

“The U.S. Supreme Court fashions legal doctrines and renders legal decisions, which have played a major role in shaping and formulating the complex landscape of Indian Law. Such decisions are imperative to ensuring that Native Americans have equal opportunity to life and prosperity,” they wrote in a letter. “… We cannot afford to entertain the prospect of a rushed decision on the highest court, especially when there is so much at stake for Indian people.”