Montana’s senators remain divided on Barrett nomination

Montana’s two U.S. Senators sent out comments Sunday solidly along party lines on the procedural vote earlier in the day to advance the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The vote on Barrett’s confirmation is expected to take place Monday. The 51-48 procedural vote Sunday had two Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, voting against advancing the nominee. All Democrats who voted were opposed, the Associated Press reported.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, arrives for closed meetings Wednesday with senators, at the Capitol in Washington.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., voted yes, and made excerpts from his speech on the Senate floor available.

“As U.S. Senator for Montana, supporting Judge Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is an easy call … She is someone who Montanans will be proud of, and will look up to on the Court …”

Montana’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said he could not support Barrett’s nomination, adding he has repeatedly requested a meeting with Barrett before making his decision.

He said while such a meeting is customary, the White House did not make her available, even for a telephone call.

Tester has also said the nomination should be made by whoever is elected president Nov. 3.

“… I do not believe we should be confirming a Supreme Court Justice, no matter who that is, before the American people have a chance to make their voices heard,” he said in an email.

Tester called the actions President Donald Trump and Republicans “irresponsible,” as Montanans are now voting.

He also noted the Supreme Court is expected to hear a case Nov. 10 on overturning the Affordable Care Act, commonly called “Obamacare.” Putting health care coverage for 120 million Americans with pre-existing conditions into question.

Daines, who met with Oct. 1 with the nominee, said Barrett believes judges shouldn’t legislate from the bench and won’t “twist” the Constitution.

 “Judge Barrett will uphold our cherished constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment,” he said.

Daines is running for re-election Nov. 3 against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who has also said the nomination should be made whoever is elected president Nov. 3.

Barrett was nominated by Trump on Sept. 26 to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18.