Heller Talks SCOTUS, Immigration
Senator Dean Heller sat down to talk about a number of issues in Washington, D.C., including the next Supreme Court Justice and illegal immigration.
Donald Trump has been in the White House for less than 18 months but he is already in the process of choosing his second Supreme Court nominee.
Some democrats are calling for the Senate to wait on confirmation hearings until after the midterm elections. In 2016, republicans refused to hold hearings for President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, until after the presidential election. Many expect Trump's nominee to be more conservative than Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring from the bench.
Senator Dean Heller is not so sure. Republicans have a two-vote lead but he expects the next justice to be someone who democrats will also support.
"My hope is that it will be a bipartisan choice," Heller, R-Nevada said. "I would anticipate that the president would choose somebody that the democrats would get onboard."
Trump is expected to announce his Supreme Court pick on Monday. That person could make decisions that affect things like gun regulations and abortion laws.
"You want someone who defends the Constitution and calls balls and strikes when it's necessary and tries not to legislate from the bench," Heller said. "If they do that, I'm all supportive."
Heller says he is also working on a plan to end the separation of families when they cross the border illegally.
"There's about a dozen of us or so who sent a letter to the president, saying 'Hey, keep these families together,'" Heller said. "Frankly, it's called the 'Keep Families Together Act' and we'll continue to push that agenda down the road."
Protestors marched in cities throughout the U.S. over the weekend, including Reno, in opposition to the current immigration policy. Some even want to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"They're going way too far if they think they want to eliminate ICE and the protections that we have here in this country," Heller said. "Those who support eliminating ICE are the same ones that want open borders. They also support sanctuary cities and I'm just not going down that road."
Heller agrees that the country is divided, politically, pointing at the emergence of the Democratic Socialists.
"That's why the divide and the gap is so wide," Heller said. "I think that center-right is where Nevada is. I think center-right is where America is and the further left the democrats go, the more difficult it is for them to represent the country."
Heller says lower taxes, bank reform and business development companies have helped bring down Nevada's unemployment rate to 4.8 percent. There are 40,000 more jobs in Nevada since May of last year.
"Our unemployment is the lowest in the last 10 years here in the state of Nevada and for the first time in 10 years, if you want a job, you can have one," Heller said. "There are more job openings in Nevada right now than there are people looking for jobs and that's good news."
Heller credits the president for some of that success. Trump is having a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16, and Heller hopes the meeting can help solve some problems and prevent future conflicts.
"The fact the president is talking with the Russian leader, I have no problems with that," Heller said. "I don't trust Putin. Let's be very clear. I don't trust this guy but I also believe the dialogue ought to be there."
Heller is back in Nevada for the Fourth of July break. In Reno, Tuesday, he toured Flirtey to see what kinds of things the company is working on with drone delivery technology, including the medical aspect of it.
"They've worked with Amazon and other companies similar to this when it comes to technology for delivering services, so I think there's a lot of room for a lot of improvement," Heller said. "It will be interesting to see where we are, perhaps 10 years from now."
Heller is defending his Senate seat against his democratic opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen. She will be in northern Nevada, Friday.