In early July, President Trump announced his nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Kavanaugh has served in the Bush White House and on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. As a registered Republican and social conservative, Kavanaugh would narrowly interpret the Constitution and thus negatively impact the highest court of the land for a generation. Kavanaugh is a danger to gay rights, racial issues, and abortion access and the only way to preserve progress on these issues is to vote in legislators who won’t confirm Kavanaugh.
Nature of the Supreme Court
Under the Constitution of the United States, the President nominates their pick to the Supreme Court and the Senate either confirms or denies the nomination. By design, the founders intended the Supreme Court to be non-partisan and designed the third branch of government to remain insulated from public opinion so as to protect minority rights. The Supreme Court decides what is the law of the land and its body is composed of a Chief Supreme Court Justice plus eight associates. There are currently only eight justices and they’re ideologically deadlocked. This means that they are evenly divided between judicial activists and strict constructionists. Kavanaugh is one of the most partisan candidates to ever be nominated to the Supreme Court as he avidly championed Republican causes when he fought to impeach President Clinton and when he worked under Justice Scalia.
This is particularly frightening to those activists who fought for marriage equality. Obergefell versus Hodges, the Supreme Court case that declared that gay marriage was legal was decided by Justice Kennedy, who retired and left his seat open for Trump to nominate Kavanaugh. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, he’d likely overturn precedent and rule against gay rights, as in the past, Kavanaugh has used “religious freedom” to vocalize his opposition to gay rights.
Kavanaugh also does not approve of quota systems nor the practice of affirmative action, which likely means that he will strike down these practices as a Supreme Court justice if he is confirmed. If a court case arrives at the Supreme Court, such as the Harvard lawsuit, he will likely strike down years of court cases saying yes to affirmative action. Harvard is being legally challenged in the courts for their race-conscious admissions policies, which have been criticized for their discrimination against Asian-American applicants. In Fisher versus University of Texas, Justice Kennedy argued that it was legal for universities to consider race in their admission process while Kavanaugh would likely disagree with this decision. Kavanaugh once predicted “one race” in the eyes of the government, implying that he would not support leveling the playing field for minorities but would rather have them struggle alone. By one race, Kavanaugh means that the government would not officially consider race when it comes to racial issues such as affirmative action, suggesting that colleges would not be allowed to use race as a factor in their admission process.
The most critical issue that complicates Kavanaugh’s nomination is reproductive rights. Two Republican senators who support the pro-choice movement could end his bid to the Supreme Court. To advance his nomination, Kavanaugh has told Rep. Susan Collins that Roe v. Wade is law and that he would not overturn precedent. However, when he was a justice on the DC circuit court, he tried to corner an undocumented immigrant seeking an abortion into legal limbo so as stall her pregnancy onto the 20-week deadline, which then according to Texas law, would not allow her to abort the fetus. Thus. Kavanaugh presents a looming threat to abortion access in addition to future progress on social issues.
It’s clear that Kavanaugh would undermine the years of progress made under the Kennedy Court. The solution to preventing Kavanaugh’s nomination includes flooding your senator with calls to oppose his confirmation in addition to voting out Senators who support Kavanaugh. Thirty-three seats are up during this election cycle. Hearings for Kavanaugh are set up in September, although his vote will likely be drawn out until next year where a new Congress will meet. If people take cues from their Senator and see where their vote is heading, they can act accordingly. For example, if your Senator acts in favor of Kavanaugh and they’re up for reelection, vote for an opponent that supports gay rights, reproductive rights, and equality for all. If people vote for candidates against Kavanaugh, progress will be saved!
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