In a day, Murkowski changes her tone on court nominee

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Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she believes it’s “important” that the Senate hold a hearing on President Obama’s choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.

“I do believe that the nominee should get a hearing,” she said, while taking questions from reporters in Juneau.

Late this afternoon, in a series of five Twitter posts, Murkowski essentially said there should be no nominee.


On both days, she said it’s up to the Senate to decide whether the nominee gets a vote on the Senate floor. Today, though, she went a step further. In Twitter post No. 4 she announced that she’s urging Obama to follow what she called “a tradition embraced by both parties” and let the next president make the nomination.

“If POTUS ignores precedent,” she said in tweet No. 5, “I believe extraordinary circumstances give the Senate every right to deny the nominee an up or down vote.”

It’s not clear what “precedent” and “tradition” Murkowski meant, but the claim that a president in his final year ceases to make court appointments is disputed. The independent website Politifact rated a similar claim  “false.”

A spokesman for Sen. Dan Sullivan wouldn’t say whether Sullivan believes an Obama nominee deserves a Senate hearing. But the spokesman did say Sullivan will likely oppose any of the president’s choices.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska issues in Washington as the network's D.C. correspondent. She was born in Anchorage and is a West High grad. She has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia. She previously worked at the Homer News, the Anchorage Daily News and the Washington bureau of McClatchy Newspapers. She also freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013. She welcomes your news tips at lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz