Murkowski sticks with GOP to confirm anti-abortion nominee to bench

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chats in the Alaska Capitol with members of Planned Parenthood Teen Council and Generation Action, a Planned Parenthood group of college students. The council is made up of teens from Juneau and Anchorage. The Generation Action members are from Anchorage and Fairbanks. They talked in a hallway moments before Murkowski gave her annual address to the Alaska Legislature, Feb. 19, 2019.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chats in the Alaska Capitol with members of Planned Parenthood Teen Council and Generation Action, a Planned Parenthood group of college students. They talked in a hallway moments before Murkowski gave her annual address to the Alaska Legislature, Feb. 19, 2019. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, helped the Senate confirm President Donald Trump’s 65th federal trial court judge.

The nominee, Wendy Vitter, overcame substantial criticism from abortion rights groups.

Both Alaska senators voted to confirm Vitter to a U.S. District Court seat in Louisiana, but the surprise was Murkowski. She often breaks with her fellow Republicans to support funding for Planned Parenthood and issues related to reproductive rights.

Senate Democrats and abortion rights groups complained Vitter did not initially disclose to the Judiciary Committee all of her anti-abortion activities. They include speaking at a rally protesting a new Planned Parenthood clinic in New Orleans and moderating a panel at a National Right to Life conference.

Wendy Vitter

The Senate confirmed Wendy Vitter of Louisiana to the U.S. District Court. She pledged to uphold Supreme Court precedent, including Roe v. Wade. (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing video still)

At her Senate confirmation hearing, Vitter said she would follow Supreme Court precedent, including Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision upholding a woman’s right to an abortion.

“My religious, personal or political beliefs would have to be set aside,” she said.

Vitter has been working as general counsel to the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. She’s married to former U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

Murkowski’s spokeswoman said the senator met with Vitter, reviewed her credentials and concluded Vitter is qualified for the job.

The Senate confirmed Vitter by a 52-45 vote. The only Republican to vote no was Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Murkowski earned a score of 28% on National Right to Life’s scorecard for the last Congress. The group gave fellow Alaska Republicans Sen. Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young perfect scores of 100%.

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