Updated Resources 7/11/18
(from Indivisible National)
It’s happened: Trump has announced his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. On July 9th, Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and set the stage for a monumental shift in the Court’s makeup. If Trump is successful at getting Kavanaugh confirmed, the Court will work to preserve the Trump agenda for decades to come.
Key issues that affect us all hang in the balance, including reproductive rights, access to health care, LGBTQ rights, environmental protections, and much more. Further, the next Supreme Court justice could rule on cases involving Trump himself, whether resulting from the Mueller investigation or otherwise.
Brett Kavanaugh is one of the most cravenly partisan choices Trump could have made. He has been called the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics” because he always seems to show up in high-profile far-right conspiracy theories and political battles.
Here’s what you need to know about his nomination to the Supreme Court.
What’s at stake?
Justice Kennedy was known for often (but not always) being the swing vote on the Court and serving as a moderating voice. As Trump’s nominee, Kavanaugh is a direct threat to previously-settled norms and advances in the rights of marginalized communities. Here’s what’s at stake if Kavanaugh is confirmed to replace Kennedy as the next Supreme Court Justice.
Our rights: Reproductive justice, access to affordable health care, and LGBTQ equality.
Something important to keep in mind: Just by the fact that Kavanaugh has been nominated, we already know two key things about them.
Trump has already told us what he wants out of a Supreme Court justice. His “short list” of potential nominees was written by far-right activists, with two key criteria.
First, Trump has promised that Roe v. Wade would be overturned “automatically…because I will put pro-life justices on the court.”
The Federalist Society—which created the “short list” of judges that Trump chose from—has advocated for overturning Roe since the organization’s founding in 1982. (Kavanaugh is actually a long-time member of the Federalist Society.) Should Kavanaugh be confirmed, the ability of millions of people (particularly lower-income women, women of color, and members of the LGBTQ community) to access abortion and other reproductive care would be in jeopardy.
Kavanaugh has already used his place on the bench to block access to abortion services, most notably in Garza v. Hargan, where he attempted to deny a teenager in the Trump administration’s custody access to an abortion.
Second, Trump has made clear that he is seeking a Supreme Court justice hostile to the Affordable Care Act, and that his justices will “do the right thing…on Obamacare.”
After the Trump administration gutted the individual mandate in the Tax Scam, 20 states sued to overturn the ACA. Trump’s Department of Justice announced in June that they would not defend major portions the law in court, including provisions concerning pre-existing conditions. Thus, the fate of health care coverage for millions of Americans could lie once more in the hands of the Supreme Court. Trump has already indicated he is choosing a justice who will deal a fatal blow to the ACA, and we should believe him.
As a member of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Kavanaugh has already taken shots at the ACA. He wrote a lengthy opinion asserting that presidents can decline to enforce laws that they think are unconstitutional, even if courts disagree. Combined with Trump’s refusal to enforce portions of the ACA, Kavanaugh’s presence on the Supreme Court would endanger access to affordable health care for millions of Americans.
Further, Kavanaugh will dramatically shift the Court’s balance, placing LGBTQ rights in jeopardy. While on the Supreme Court, Anthony Kennedy was often the deciding vote in advancing rights for gay and lesbian Americans. He authored four major decisions, including striking down laws criminalizing same-sex conduct and affirming marriage equality as a constitutional right. If confirmed, Kavanaugh will dramatically shift the balance of the Court by replacing swing voter Kennedy with an extreme justice, placing the far-right conservatives in the majority.
This shift will threaten these hard-won advances, and will pose a threat to future pushes for LGBTQ equality, from nondiscrimination to equal rights for transgender Americans.
Protecting the wealthy and powerful instead of all of us.
A Supreme Court with five far-right extreme justices will side with the wealthy and powerful, instead of protecting the rights of workers, consumers, and all Americans.
Judge Kavanaugh has frequently used his place on the bench to enhance the power of corporations and the wealthy. He has asserted that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which protects consumers from the predatory practices of banks, credit card companies, and student loan servicers, is unconstitutional. He has sided with corporations that deny their workers collective bargaining rights and protections against workplace discrimination. Further, he has ruled against net neutrality, siding with big telecommunications companies in an effort to undermine the free and open internet as we know it.
Core protections to the environment are in danger
An extreme right-wing Court will be hostile to environmental protections, placing EPA regulations and efforts to curb climate change in peril.
Brett Kavanaugh is considered one of the most anti-environment judges in America. He has consistently ruled against EPA regulations aimed at curbing pollution and harmful emissions. He has also ruled against efforts to combat climate change. The Supreme Court has already upheld one of his anti-environment opinions, paving the way for a generation of environmental damage if he were to join the conservative justices to form a majority on the Court.
Holding Trump accountable.
The next Supreme Court justice very well may hear cases pertaining to Trump himself. Trump and his enablers have advanced numerous ludicrous arguments designed to derail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and shield Trump from being held accountable for corruption, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice.
Whether resulting from the Mueller investigation or otherwise, it’s likely that the Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on these questions. This means that Kavanaugh is likely the person who will decide whether Trump is held accountable for his corruption and crimes.
Kavanaugh was a key author of the infamous Starr report during the Clinton administration, and has expressed numerous opinions about the role of a Special Counsel (such as Robert Mueller). He does not believe that a sitting president can be indicted, and believes presidents should have wide latitude to hire and fire special counsels. This does not bode well for the Mueller investigation.
When Brett Kavanaugh was first nominated by George W. Bush in 2003, he was such a controversial nominee that he wasn’t confirmed by the Senate until 2006.
At the time, Senator Schumer (now Minority Leader of the Senate), remarked, “You have been the ‘go to’ guy among young Republican lawyers appearing at the epicenter of so many high-profile controversial issues in your short career, and it is only natural that such a record would give many Senators pause…”
From reproductive rights to access to health care and more, it’s clear that Kavanaugh would rubber stamp Trump’s agenda for decades to come if confirmed.
So, what can you do?
Now that we know who Trump’s nominee is, it’s time for senators to know that he is unacceptable and that they must immediately commit to vote against his confirmation.
Start here to fight back.
Then, from now until the confirmation, flood your senators’ offices with phone calls. BLUE or RED, let them know what their constituents are thinking. Bring signs and American flags.
Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Contacts: http://www.phoneyourrep.com
Go to the #SaveSCOTUS Event in LA on Thursday, the 12th.
Check out the details here.
- Brett Kavanaugh: Who is he? Bio, facts, background and political views (politico)
- Who is Brett Kavanaugh? (pfaw.org)
- Kavanaugh was unqualified to be on the US Court of Appeals (pfaw.org)
- Kavanaugh confirmation would do grave harm (Afj.org)
- Kavanaugh’s protectionism when the target is Republican (lattimes)
- Leonard Leo, the man behind Trump’s Supreme Court picks (guardian)
Who Is Brett Kavanaugh? A Supreme Court Reading Guide (Propublica)