Writing on the hand: From a 2010 election to Brett Kavanaugh's nomination

Alaska Federation of Natives Wednesday called on the Senate to reject Supreme Court nominee

Video script:

Have you ever heard the phrase, "tell it to the hand?" Well, is this hand enough to sink the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday the Alaska Federation of Natives Wednesday called on the Senate to reject President Donald J. Trump’s choice for the high court.

“AFN joins our colleagues and friends across Indian country in strongly opposing Judge Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court because of, among other things, his views on the rights of Alaska Natives.”

The AFN is huge. It’s the largest Native organization in Alaska, its members include 186 federally recognized Indian tribes, 177 for-profit village corporations, 12 for-profit regional corporations, 12 not-for-profit regional organizations, and a number of tribal consortia that run federal and state programs.

AFN played a critical role in the 2010 write-in election of Sen. Lisa Murkowski after she lost a Republican primary. At the AFN convention that year in Fairbanks people were taught how to vote for a write-in candidate, including practicing spelling her name correctly (for some, writing her name on their hands). Alaska Native corporations also spent some $1.6 million supporting Murkowski.

A Senate committee will vote on this nomination on Sept. 20.

And Sen. Murkowski could be a key vote in the closely divided Senate. There are 51 Republicans, so it will take two “no” votes to sink the nomination, that is, if all Democrats vote against Kavanaugh.

But that is not certain either. Many senators from states that supported Trump, especially those facing re-election contests of their own, are being pressured to support the nominee.

AFN several specific reasons why Kavanaugh should not be promoted. It said his views on the Indian Commerce Clause could impact Alaska Native tribes. AFN also says his views on tribal authority over child welfare cases could reshape a whole body of law.

I am Mark Trahant for Indian Country Today.

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