Earlier this year, I joined two Montana families at the United States Supreme Court.
I went to hear the oral arguments for a landmark case very relevant to the State of Montana. The case was about equal protection under the Constitution, religious freedom, and protecting Montana families and children from being discriminated against because of the school they choose.
I saw nine brilliant Supreme Court justices ask tough questions to both sides. Frankly, I saw the finest hour of debate that I’ve seen in our nation’s capital.
The Montana families ultimately won that case in a 5-4 decision. But think about that: This victory against religious discrimination was decided by just one vote.
The same can be said for the Supreme Court’s two rulings affirming an individual right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment. Both were 5-4 decisions. One vote was the deciding factor to protect the Second Amendment rights of Montanans.
Razor thin decisions by the Supreme Court can protect – or jeopardize – our Montana way of life, and they underscore why supporting or opposing a nominee to our highest court is perhaps the most important decision I will make as a United States senator for Montana.
I proudly supported the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court because I believe she will protect the liberties and livelihoods of Montanans.
I had the honor of meeting with Judge Barrett earlier this month where she said her guiding principles as a judge were in the mold of the great conservative justice, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. This gave me strong confidence that Justice Barrett understands the constitutional purpose of the Supreme Court and the proper role of a judge.
Justice Barrett said she believes judges should not legislate from the bench. This means she understands judges shouldn’t use their power on a court to impose their policy preferences by twisting the original – and true – meaning of the Constitution. Policymaking should be left to elected legislators at the local, state, or federal level – not judges.
Justice Barrett will uphold our cherished constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment. As a fifth generation Montanan with A+ ratings from the National Rifle Association and the Montana Shooting Sports Association, her correct understanding of the Second Amendment was essential to gaining my support.
Justice Barrett’s strong record in support of the Second Amendment can give every law-abiding Montanan who owns a firearm full confidence that she will never allow the government to take away our guns.
I believe Justice Barrett will properly exercise her power to stop Congress when it goes beyond its limited constitutional powers. For decades, the Supreme Court allowed Congress to impose policies that they had no authority creating in the first place. I believe striking down Congress when it exceeds its constitutional authority, and returning power to states and the people, is one of the most important roles of the Supreme Court.
Justice Barrett will protect our Montana jobs. She will not bend to the radical, fringe groups looking to kill Montana timber and coal jobs.
Justice Barrett will be a fair-minded justice Montanans can be proud of. Yet, some on the Far Left, including Governor Bullock, not only opposed her confirmation but also said they are open to packing the Supreme Court with activist, liberal judges. This is an attack on our Montana way of life, and I stand with Montanans in strongly opposing this dangerous power grab proposal.
Justice Barrett is an inspiration to professional women, working moms and school-aged girls across Montana who can feel certain there is no American Dream that women can’t achieve.
I look forward to seeing Justice Amy Coney Barrett in action on the prestigious bench.
Steve Daines is a Republican U.S. senator from Montana.
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