Murkowski praises DACA decision and revisits her controversial vote on impeachment witnesses

Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks to reporters at the Capitol in 2016. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)


Sen. Lisa Murkowski cheered the Supreme Court opinion that continues protection for undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children. 

“I thought it was a good day,” she told reporters on Capitol Hill

Now, she said, it’s up to Congress to pass a bill granting more durable legal status.

“I’ve been one of those that has said, we have to address this legislatively. I think we need to do it. So it’s just a question of when we’re going to get started,” she said.

Some of her more conservative colleagues are blasting Chief Justice John Roberts for writing the opinion. They’re also attacking him and Justice Neil Gorsuch for a ruling Monday that says employers can’t fire a worker for being gay or transgender. Murkowski said people shouldn’t view the court through a political lens.

“I don’t think we should look at the outcome of every case that comes out of the Supreme Court and try to dissect the politics of the respective justices,” she said. “I said at the time of the impeachment, that one of the sorry outcomes of what we had seen there was the pressure from certain members of Congress to try to inject a level of politics into the judicial branch, into the Supreme Court.”

Preserving the neutrality of Chief Justice Roberts was the reason Murkowski gave in January for her vote against calling witnesses to the impeachment trial. Roberts presided over that trial. Democrats wanted to call former National Security Advisor John Bolton. And this week Bolton revealed he might have been a decisive witness: In a new book, he alleges Trump leaned on China for help with his re-election.

Related: Murkowski confirms she’ll vote no on witnesses in impeachment trial

Murkowski said she doesn’t regret voting against witnesses.

“I made the decision that I made at the time that I made it,” she said. “And, you know, there’s no going back.”

Sen. Dan Sullivan was not available for an interview about the DACA decision. His spokesman said he was traveling. Congressman Don Young did not respond to an interview request emailed to his office.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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