Letters: Daines fails Supreme Court test

| October 29, 2020 12:05 AM

Daines fails Supreme Court test

In February 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, nine months before the election. President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland. The Constitution obligates senators to consider a nominee, but Sen. Steve Daines refused to even meet with Garland, claiming concerns about the democratic process. He said the Senate shouldn’t act “until the American people elect a new president and have their voices heard."

Now, a week from the election — after thousands of Montanans and millions of Americans have already cast their ballots — Daines says he’ll proceed with the vote to confirm Amy Barrett. So much for principle.

Maybe senators should adopt a rule: before party conventions in summer, the Senate proceeds with votes on nominations; after the conventions, the Senate holds off. Let’s call it the Abe Lincoln rule. When Chief Justice Taney died on Oct. 12, 1864, Lincoln deferred nominating a replacement until after November.

One hundred fifty-six years later to the day — Oct. 12, 2020 — Senate Judiciary chair Lindsay Graham bulldozed ahead with Day 1 of the Barrett hearings. Like Daines, Graham stonewalled Garland in 2016, saying: “If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, 'Let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.' And you could use my words against me and you'd be absolutely right."

I hope voters show Sens. Daines and Graham we remember what they said. Please join me in voting for Steve Bullock.

Thompson Smith, Charlo

Negative on Bullock

I met Steve Daines when I lived in Bozeman. Very nice family man, intelligent, successful. Steve Bullock, a career politician, has never succeeded in anything outside the political arena.

Here are some facts about Steve Bullock not mentioned in the media. I contacted Bullock to set up an advisory board to help small businesses during COVID. You could also have boards to evaluate mental health of people, and the health of senior citizens regulated to their homes or senior living. Steve Bullock was not interested.

From 2012-19 Montana’s violent crime, aggravated assault and rape have gone up 60%, all above the national average. Steve Bullock is the first Montana governor since 1980 to “surpass” the national average on property crime for five straight years. He says he’s looking out for Montanans.

Montana’s COVID-19 cases since early September have been some of the worst in the United States. Bullock has blamed government, schools, and now masking and social distancing. If you read the papers and follow the numbers a bigger factor is never mentioned. Bullock has never set up a good infrastructure to fight this virus. His failed testing was taking up to three weeks in late July and in early October, 4-7 days.

Even today it is spotty. He will not make major decisions fearing hurting his political career; not helping any local health department on contact tracing, telling them they are on their own. Every state has the same issues as Montana and have had spikes in cases, but they are able to control these spikes and reduce cases. Montana never has.

Last, look into where the $1.25 billion went? Steve Bullock is not putting Montanans first, only himself. I don’t know him personally but I do know Steve Daines. I don’t want to know Bullock.

Dale Gillespie, Polson

In support of Pavlock

Our democracy depends on a few basic elements: the rule of law, an independent press and an engaged, voting citizenry that is provided with a solid, freely-available education. Only then do we have the tools we need to see through the confusing, deliberately deceptive ads and speeches churned out by many politicians.

This is why I’m voting for Lisa Pavlock for House District 93. Pavlock has been a teacher for many years. She’s a founder and administrator of Glacier School in St. Ignatius. She therefore knows how vital education is for the health of our communities, and for our children’s health and success in life. As our state representative, she will be a passionate advocate for investing in public schools. She will also defend and improve our access to affordable healthcare, keep our public lands open to all, and foster greater respect between all people.

Please vote for Lisa Pavlock for House District 93. Don’t delay. Your ballot must be received at the Lake County election office by 8 p.m. Nov. 3. At this late date, if you are able, please consider delivering your ballot in person to the Lake County Courthouse; the elections office has a secure drop box.

Karin Stallard, Charlo