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Letters to Heidi: Activists host letter-writing campaign to encourage Heitkamp to vote 'no' on Supreme Court nominee

Activists prepare to demonstrate Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, in front of the Fargo office of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp to encourage her not to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

FARGO — In an effort to encourage a "swing Senator" to deny the confirmation of a conservative Supreme Court nominee, a group of activists gathered here outside the campaign office of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., to write letters focusing on Heitkamp's legacy and concerns surrounding the nominee.

"Letters to Heidi" organizer Dana Bisignani said the event garnered around 40 letters that were delivered to the senator's campaign office at 23 Broadway N., on Thursday, Aug. 2.

The event, hosted by the Red River chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, reflected the organization's opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

"We wanted to make sure Heidi really knew where North Dakota stood and for her to think about her legacy. While she may not be in office forever, he (Kavanaugh) will occupy his seat for a very long time and affect the whole nation," Bisignani said.

Heitkamp is one of a handful of so-called "swing senators," who hold key votes when it comes to the next Supreme Court pick.

A spokeswoman for Heitkamp said the senator has been working with the White House to set up a meeting with Kavanaugh, which is now slated for Wednesday, Aug. 15.

Heitkamp said in a statement this week that she will learn about Kavanaugh's judicial record and temperament during the meeting to evaluate the lifetime appointment. She voted in April to confirm Justice Gorsuch, another Trump administration Supreme Court nominee.

Bisignani said that Kavanaugh has a "long record of siding with corporations against workers and the environment."

She maintained that while some feel opposition to the nominee is because he may overturn landmark abortion legislation Roe v. Wade, it is also "about so much more," including privacy issues involving patients and providers.

Bisignani said the Supreme Court should be balanced between conservative and progressive viewpoints, adding that if Kavanaugh is appointed the high court will become "hyper-conservative." She said the goal of Thursday's campaign was to encourage Heitkamp to vote "no" on Kavanaugh's confirmation, a vote that won't come for several more months.

Those dropping off letters or writing one outside the campaign office included men and women, Bisignani said, adding that people should continue sending letters to Heitkamp.

In Heitkamp's statement released this week she said one of the most important jobs of any U.S. senator is to fully vet Supreme Court nominees, adding: "That's exactly what I plan to do, just as I have for other Supreme Court nominees, including Justice Gorsuch."

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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