WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) today released the following message after meeting with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hello, Alaska. I just came out of a meeting with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to be on the U.S. Supreme Court. It was a really productive meeting—almost forty-five minutes with her. We covered many topics. She’s clearly a thoughtful and intelligent jurist with many credentials to her name. Some of the topics we covered right at the outset: the role of a judge on the federal judiciary … It’s the role of a judge to interpret the law, not to legislate from the bench. I think she was in full agreement on that.
A lot of our discussion focused on Alaska-specific issues. I talked about how unique our state was, but also how there are many unique, complicated laws, such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and ANILCA, the Trans Alaska Pipeline Act, even the Tax Act of 2017, which has a whole section on the opening of ANWR.
We went into depth about how federal courts often misinterpret these very important laws for our state, which could do huge damage to Alaska. I told her to keep an eye on these kinds of cases, and then we went into depth on the Sturgeon vs. Frost case. This is an example of lower courts, in this case, the Ninth Circuit, really misinterpreting federal law. Fortunately, the Supreme Court, in two different opinions, finally got ANILCA and Alaska right in the Sturgeon case. I respectfully gave her this case and asked her to read it.
We talked a lot about the Second Amendment. She is a strong defender of the Second Amendment. There was a Seventh Circuit case in which she wrote a dissent that to me is one of the most powerful dissents that I’ve read on the Second Amendment and the importance of it. I would mention to Alaskans, if you’re interested in it, we can make sure you know what case that is to take a look at it and to read it.
We had a deep discussion also on the issue of the power and limitations of federal agencies, administrative agencies. She had written an opinion on limiting the power of the Waters of the United States (Rule) that I thought was very important, and we had a long discussion on that as well.
We covered other topics as well. But I would say I’m certainly looking forward to seeing more of her views as the Judiciary Committee hearings kick into gear. But, overall, it was an important meeting today. I think she came away with a sense of just how important and unique many of the federal laws that come before the U. S. Supreme Court relate to Alaska, and that was my goal today.