Last night (July 9), President Donald Trump announced that Brett Kavanaugh—a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is led by former President Barack Obama’s dashed SCOTUS nomination Merrick Garland—is his nominee for the Supreme Court.
Here, 10 progressive organizations and their leaders break down why Kavanaugh should not take the bench.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People “The next Supreme Court justice will play an outsized role in determining whether African Americans move forward in our journey toward achieving full equality, whether we simply tread water for the next three decades, or whether we slide backward toward our former status as second-class citizens. This nomination occurs at a time unlike any other, and it should be considered by a Senate elected by the American people in November. We have a president whose statements and policies are rooted in racism. We have an administration reversing civil and human rights at every turn. We have one justice and dozens of judges appointed because of their proven hostility to civil rights. We have a criminal investigation into the presidency itself. We have radical outside groups pre-selecting nominees to the Court. Nothing about this nomination is ordinary, and nothing about this confirmation is ordinary. These are extraordinary times requiring extraordinary measures.… To each and every senator, we say: This is the civil rights vote of your career. We will be watching closely. Make no mistake—we are in the fight of our lives, and we hope you are prepared for battle.”
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights “Kavanaugh believes that the president is above the law, and he would not be a check on Trump’s abuse of power. Kavanaugh wrote that the president should have ‘absolute discretion’ to determine whether and when to appoint or fire a special counsel like Robert Mueller. And Kavanaugh has said that a sitting president should not be criminally indicted, no matter what evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered. No wonder President Trump has nominated this man to the Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide whether he, his family, or his aides can be held accountable by the special counsel.”
Dana Singiser, vice president of public policy and government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America “Planned Parenthood is unambiguously opposed to the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. We already know how he would vote when it comes to upholding the precedent of Roe v. Wade, because Donald Trump told us. Judge Kavanaugh has already ruled to restrict access to safe, legal abortion. Just last year, he used his judicial power to prevent a young undocumented woman in U.S. custody from accessing the safe, legal abortion she wanted. That’s why we will be mobilizing all 11 million of our supporters. We know millions of people will join us to protect these fundamental rights. We refuse to live in an America where our children and grandchildren have fewer rights than we have today.”
Heidi Hess, co-director of CREDO Action “Any Senator—Democrat or Republican—who votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh is knowingly voting to overturn Roe v. Wade, undermine our civil rights and supercharge Republican efforts to suppress the vote. Trump and the Republican machine trying to jam through this nomination will do everything they can to obfuscate Kavanaugh’s beliefs and downplay the consequences of a Trump Court takeover. Some senators may attempt to hide behind that con job and pretend they don’t understand what’s at stake. Voters won’t fall for such an obvious and cowardly dodge—and reporters shouldn’t either.”
Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth “Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is just another capitulation to the far-right fringe that has hijacked our judicial system—where it seeks to cement the Trump administration’s persecution of women, people of color and LGBTQ people. Kavanaugh is sure to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and uphold the regressive anti-women and anti-LGBTQ beliefs championed by this administration. This announcement is not only a blow to our rights today, but will impact the rights of marginalized communities for generations to come. Advocates for Youth is determined to lead in this fight to protect the freedoms, justice and voices of young people and all those who rely on the Supreme Court to protect our rights and dignity. Young people want to move this country forward, not backwards, and they are looking to their Senators to represent their interests and reject this nominee.”
Dr. Willie Parker, board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health “The Supreme Court has enormous authority to affect the everyday health and well-being of us all. People of color, low-income families, young people and LGBTQ people are particularly under threat from attacks on health care, voting rights, anti-discrimination laws and more. The Trump administration has already enacted numerous policies restricting access to vital reproductive health services, including contraception, abortion and maternity care, and will continue to chip away at health care access. It is critical that this process be treated with the utmost seriousness. The dangers of rushing through an unqualified candidate motivated by ideology and bias is simply too great at this moment when our basic freedoms are at stake. I urge the rejection of any nominee who will not defend all of our rights, including the constitutional right to abortion care.”
Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum “Asian American and Pacific Islander women and other women of color stand to be critically impacted by the next Supreme Court Justice, who will have opportunities to vote on decisions in immigrant rights, voting rights, healthcare access and workers’ rights—issues that disproportionately impact the lives of communities of color…. Women, people of color, immigrants, and other marginalized communities deserve to have their voices heard, loud and clear. Brett Kavanaugh is a dangerously unfit and extreme nominee who will hurt our communities and threaten our fundamental rights, and we strongly oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court. NAPAWF will continue advocating for AAPI women and girls, so that they can have full agency over their bodies, their lives and their families.”
Curt Decker, executive director of National Disability Rights Network “The National Disability Rights Network shares the concerns of the civil rights community about the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. Disability is a condition that can affect all Americans, across all races, genders, sexual orientation, religion and economic status. Any weakening of the laws that protect Americans from discrimination and ensure equal opportunity would negatively affect individuals with disabilities as well.”
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of National Women’s Law Center “With this nomination, women’s freedom to make decisions about our own bodies is at stake. Judge Kavanaugh voted to allow religious beliefs to override an individual’s right to insurance coverage of birth control. He also issued a ruling to allow the government to continue blocking a young immigrant woman from accessing abortion care. And it is no small matter that it was after this decision that his name first appeared on Trump’s short list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Too much is at stake for the Senate to just allow this nominee to go through.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. “We have litigated racial discrimination issues at the Supreme Court since 1940, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation could transform that institution in a way that we have never seen before, jeopardizing the progress we have achieved over the last 78 years. The very integrity of our justice system and the rule of law are at stake—and we cannot afford to approach this nomination as business as usual. Senators must critically evaluate Judge Kavanaugh’s record to determine whether he would defend the hard-won rights of African Americans, women and members of the LGBT community or rollback critical civil rights protections.”