Alaskans say subsistence rights, health care at stake in Kavanaugh nomination battle

By  | 

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A group of Alaskans fears the president's Supreme Court pick could cost them their health or even their lives. Anti-Kavanaugh protestors occupied the office of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Thursday. Among them were nine concerned Alaskans.

"What allows me to be an entrepreneur and a small business owner in Alaska is the Affordable Care Act," said Malena Marvin from Petersburg, Alaska.

Marvin runs a commercial seafood business in Petersburg. She says she relies on the health care system President Trump is vowing to dismantle. Marvin was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014.

"I owe it my life in many ways so I think we're in a position where we need to strengthen health care for Alaskans," said Marvin.

Marvin fears if President Trump's pick lands on the highest court, a more conservative bench will be willing to chip away at the Affordable Care Act.

Mountain Village natives on Capitol Hill say Judge Kavanaugh lacks knowledge of Indian law, leaving their livelihood at risk.

"If we get our subsistence rights taken away from us we are going to suffer. It's going to be very hard," said Dorothy Johnson, an Alaska Native.

For Alaska's senators, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, says he plans to vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski, also a Republican, says she is undecided.

It's unclear how much native issues will factor into their votes. The group of Alaskans visited the offices of Sens. Sullivan and Murkowski this week. The lawmakers were not available for interviews for this story.

In spite of the many protests, key Republican lawmakers say they have the votes to put Kavanaugh on the court by the end of September.