Oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court
Due to the pending retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court, the stakes are now even higher for Democrats this November. Brett Kavanaugh’s record shows that he’s a strict conservative judge that could make decisions that alter the landscape of civil rights and civil liberties of many Americans. While every day in the Trump administration brings new struggles, this particular battle is one of the most important we’ve faced throughout this presidency.
If Kavanaugh is confirmed, Trump’s influence on the basic rights of Americans will be felt for years to come. While we can worry about what’s to come if he’s confirmed, we must turn that fear into action and do everything in our power as citizens to assure that Kavanaugh is not confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.
Use our toolkit to call your senators and tell them to oppose Brett Kavanaugh.
Key Senate Races in 2018
Progressive Turnout Project is investing in three of the most competitive Senate races across the United States in 2018. While the first step of delaying this nomination until after the election won’t be easy, but flipping these Senate seats could cast doubt on the chances of a Kavanaugh confirmation.
In Texas, Democrat Beto O’Rourke is levying a strong challenge to incumbent Ted Cruz. It’s no secret that Ted Cruz is unpopular even within his own party, and O’Rourke’s has committed to speaking to voters and investing in a grassroots movement rather than one run by special interests.
O’Rourke is currently a U.S. House Representative from Texas’ 16th Congressional District. He has been one of the most critical voices against the GOP and his campaign has been quite impressive. While his opponent Ted Cruz is not well liked, it takes a lot of power to take on a powerful incumbent in the way that O’Rourke has. The congressman has refused to take any donation money from corporations and has instead relied on grassroots donations and canvassing communities to allow his campaign to gain momentum. Despite Cruz’s core of supporters that will never vote for a Democrat, O’Rourke has crisscrossed the state, personally visiting each of the 254 counties in Texas. Our voter turnout program in the seventh congressional district of Texas is helping to engage with voters in the district in hopes of electing Democrats like Beto O’Rourke to the United States Senate.
We are also investing in Nevada to elect Jacky Rosen. Republican Dean Heller has been in the Senate for far too long with too little to show for his constituents. Heller votes with President Trump 92 percent of the time and has faced significant criticism for his various policy changes on health care reform. The senator voted for the skinny repeal of the ACA that failed during a midnight vote last summer, but had previously said he was considering breaking with the party and supporting the over 200,000 Nevadans that benefit from the ACA.
He’s proven that he isn’t fit to represent the state of Nevada or its people. As a current Congresswoman, Jacky Rosen will bring a new voice to the state in the Senate.
She will lead with a voice that’s actually reflective of its residents. She has proven capable of representing the best interests of Nevadans throughout her first term in the House and would surely stand up to any nomination that Trump makes if elected.
The Senate race in Nebraska is also an opportunity for Democrats to take back the Senate and impact future Trump Supreme
Court and lower court appointments. Jane Raybould brings an opportunity for Democrats in Nebraska to have their voice heard and represented in federal government.
Debbie Fischer has let down the people of Nebraska, voting often in ways that directly harm her constituents. Fischer has faced warranted criticism from her votes that have harmed the state’s farming community. Nebraska’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and many argue that Fischer’s refusal to act on tariffs and trade have negatively impacted many in the area. Fischer has made many in the state unhappy – the people of Nebraska are better off with a fresh voice representing them in Congress.
The impact of a conservative-leaning Court
If confirmed, Brett Kavanaugh will make the Court lean more conservative than it has in recent history. While many of the Court’s latest decisions were undoubtedly viewed as wins for conservatives, adding a conservative judge like Kavanaugh will only increase the chances that the Court continues to set a Republican-leaning precedent.
This year’s decisions were right-leaning and will have an adverse effect on civil rights and civil liberties for years to come. But a Court with Kavanaugh will be worse than what we’ve seen in the most recent past. While Anthony Kennedy leaned conservative, he could at times provide a key swing vote to move the Court more to the left. But Kavanaugh’s background and judicial history as a circuit court judge serve as proof that he will bring his conservative values with him as a Supreme Court Justice.
The decision in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute is just one example of how a conservative-leaning Court can impact an average person’s civil liberties. The Court ruled that the Ohio law could stand, but this will only lead to similar laws being passed in Republican states. In addition to the purge law, states also use voter ID laws to suppress the vote. Given that 34 of 50 states currently require voters to show an ID in order to cast a ballot, it’s more than reasonable to believe that these controversial laws will be challenged in the court of law in the coming years.
A civil rights group and a college student in Iowa recently filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State citing an ID law that infringes on Iowans right to vote. The outcome of this case could ruffle enough feathers within the losing entity to appeal to the Supreme Court. Of course, it is not guaranteed that the land’s highest Court would hear the case at all. But the subject matter itself makes it more than likely this will be an issue.
If there is a conservative-leaning Court, this decision will likely rule in favor of ID laws as a mechanism to fight against supposed voter fraud. But given that the cases of proven voter fraud are far and few in between, there are more than reasonable concerns that these laws are enacted with the desire to gain political power in mind rather than a concern to keep elections fair.
Brett Kavanaugh won’t stand up for voting rights and as more challenges to these problematic laws pop up across the country. As a Circuit Court judge, Kavanaugh upheld a voter ID law in South Carolina that had been blocked by President Obama’s Department of Justice for disenfranchising thousands of voters. Voting rights expert Ari Berman points out that Kavanaugh’s majority opinion upholding the law serves as an example of how he’s likely to rule should a similar case be brought to the Supreme Court. As voter ID and purge laws become more widespread as a result, minorities will see a swift but strong adverse impact on their right to cast a ballot freely and fairly in all elections.
The landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (2013) to effectively render same-sex marriage legal was the product of a liberal-leaning court. But just five years later, LGBTQ rights suffered a setback in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. If the decision to allow businesses to discriminate on who they serve is any indicator, the rights of LGBTQ people are severely at risk if the Court that included Kennedy already ruled against them. The appointment of Brett Kavanaugh will only make it decidedly more partisan. In the Circuit Court, Kavanaugh ruled in favor of an employer suing against the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate on religious grounds. He said that the contraception coverage requirement was a violation of the group’s religious freedoms. While this case is not directly applicable to the LGBTQ community, the Daily Beast’s Jay Michaelson points out that the reasoning behind Kavanaugh’s decision in the Circuit Court case could be a preview of how he’d rule in a case similar to the Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission by favoring the store owner’s right to religious freedom over the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Brett Kavanaugh could be the key vote to end Roe v. Wade and endanger women’s health for years to come. The consequences of such a decision cannot be understated. A woman’s right to choose is essential. But Trump, Pence, and the GOP would love to see it end. It cannot be forgotten that as a candidate Trump promised to overturn Roe v. Wade. Republican senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine are two key votes to confirm any nominee. They both say that they believe Roe v. Wade will be upheld, but their vote on Brett Kavanaugh will prove whether or not their words are true or mere fodder for media attention.
While there is not a ton of judicial history from Kavanaugh on abortion, his past comments should raise concern for pro-choice activists. During his confirmation hearing for the Circuit Court, he said that Roe v. Wade was the binding precedent of the Supreme Court. But it’s more than likely he meant this in reference to the Supreme Court’s power over the lower court rather than detailing his approval for the ultimate decision in Roe. Likewise, Kavanaugh voted against an undocumented teenager’s right to an abortion in 2017. He said that the teenager did not have the right to “an immediate abortion” and would not have her rights infringed upon by waiting to conduct the procedure until after she was given a sponsor in the United States. Kavanaugh’s positions on a woman’s right to choose are frankly very clear and must not be taken lightly during this confirmation process. This has to be one of the key issues that Democrats question him on before a vote is held.
Kavanaugh also has a concerning history with gun control. His dissenting opinion in a 2011 case that questioned the constitutionality of an assault weapons ban in the District of Columbia said that any such ban on weapons is an infringement on second amendment rights. Gun control advocates currently pushing for an assault weapons ban should be frightened by this nomination. Following the announcement that Trump would nominate Kavanaugh to the Court, the National Rifle Association applauded the move. They view it as a victory for their interests and the second amendment. If appointed, Kavanaugh would assuredly give the NRA a guaranteed yes on any cases involving second amendment rights. This understated consequence of having a justice like Kavanaugh on the Court cannot be ignored as gun reform is one of the most vital fights going on in present day.
It is clear that Brett Kavanaugh would wreak havoc on the freedoms many have fought their entire lives to have. By nominating him, the Trump administration has again proven that they do not care about ensuring the civil rights and civil liberties of millions of Americans. In addition to the concerns elaborated on above, Kavanaugh has made his loyalty to the office of the presidency clear. In the past, he has made it clear that he thinks a sitting president cannot be the subject of criminal investigations or civil lawsuits. It’s no secret that Trump believes the current investigations on his administration are improper. Kavanaugh’s support for executive power may have played a large role in Trump choosing him as the nominee.
We cannot give up on this fight. Keep using your voice to fight against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Call your senator today to urge them to vote no on Kavanaugh. You can also use our tools to call voters in Maine and Alaska to urge them to call senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and tell them to vote no on this nomination.