Barrett confirmation sparks comment from Montana

Montana’s two senators were joined by others in offering comment about the confirmation vote Monday of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Today, I proudly voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court. Justice Barrett’s qualifications and character are indisputable,” Republican Sen. Steve Daines said in an email. “She is a brilliant jurist, and as a mother of seven children, she is an inspiration to professional women, working moms and school-aged girls across Montana who can feel certain there is no American Dream that women can’t achieve.”

The Senate voted Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

He said she will “safeguard our liberties, defend the Constitution, and protect our Montana way of life — including the Second Amendment and our Montana jobs— for decades to come.”

Daines was among the 52 Republican senators who voted for Barrett and he was expected to join President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday evening for Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony . She is expected to solidify a 6-3 conservative shift on the court. As expected, the vote was along party lines.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., arrives for votes Sunday during a rare weekend session in Washington to advance the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester criticized the action by his Republican colleagues and repeated a comment he made earlier.

“Montanans are already voting in this election, and I believe it is deeply irresponsible to ram a partisan nomination through in the final days before the polls close – a precedent my Republican colleagues established four years ago and are breaking now,” he said.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., walks to the chamber for a procedural vote prior Monday to final roll call on Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

He noted the court is expected to soon hear a challenge to the Affordable Care Act, commonly called “Obamacare,” which could impact health coverage for 120 million Americans.

“… I cannot support Judge Barrett’s nomination because 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,” Tester said. 

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who is running for Senate Nov. 3 against Daines, criticized his opponent’s vote.

“If Daines cared even remotely about protecting the Montana way of life, he wouldn’t be spending the week before an election recklessly pushing through a completely partisan Supreme Court nomination that will endanger the security of our rural hospitals, protections for hundreds of thousands of Montanans with pre-existing conditions, and Montana’s Medicaid expansion, which provides health coverage to 90,000 people,” he said in an email. “We deserve better representation in Washington.”

President Donald Trump watches as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administers the Constitutional Oath on Monday to Amy Coney Barrett on the South Lawn of the White House White House.

GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte, Montana’s lone House member, offered comment as well.

“The Supreme Court is stronger with Justice Amy Coney Barrett on it,” he said. “Justice Barrett is a trailblazer with outstanding qualifications and an impressive background, and I look forward to her service on the Supreme Court for decades to come. President Trump continues to reshape the federal judiciary, appointing judges who will uphold our Constitution and who believe that courts don’t make policy but interpret laws.”

Gianforte is running for governor. Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, a Democrat running for governor, issued a statement as well.

“Amy Coney Barrett was put on the Court for one reason — to strike down the Affordable Care Act, gut Montana’s Medicaid expansion program and strip access to health care coverage for more than 112,000 Montanans,” he said, criticizing Gianforte’s support of Barrett. He said he would “never stop fighting to make sure every Montanan has access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve.”

Barrett is replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Sept. 18.