Donald Trump has announced that D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, is his choice to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Just like you might expect, Kavanaugh is a dream for conservatives — and the worst nightmare of progressives worried about the future of the court.
The Senate must be held accountable: They cannot confirm this dangerous justice with a record that directly conflicts with the guidance of the Constitution. Handing the Supreme Court a 5-4 conservative majority could undermine decades of civil rights work in a shift that could last a generation, or longer.
Kavanaugh's record suggests he may be instrumental to restricting abortion access in the United States, but that's not all. He opposes environmental regulation, government agencies to protect civic interests, affirmative action, net neutrality, labor rights, voting rights, gun control, the Affordable Care Act, separation of church and state, and humane immigration policy.
Some of these issues may be cast as liberal versus conservative, but they're more than that. Separation of church and state is enshrined in the constitution. Freedom of expression is in the First Amendment. The Constitution protects the right to privacy, while the right to vote is a sacred cornerstone of American democracy. These aren't ideological issues: They're American values.
In addition, Judge Kavanaugh has said that sitting presidents shouldn't face criminal or civil proceedings because they're a 'distraction.' This former clerk for Justice Kennedy assisted Special Counsel Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and apparently his takeaway was that presidents should be allowed to do whatever they want with no consequences. I wonder why Donald Trump might pick him as a nominee?
Tell your senators: America deserves thorough and robust confirmation hearings, not a pro forma series of polite questions. Judge Kavanaugh's record and body of work should be thoroughly examined and considered during the confirmation process, no matter how long it takes.
And if those hearings show that he's unfit? Then your senators have a duty to their constituents, and the American people, to vote against confirmation. Senator Mitch McConnell wants to rush this through before the midterm elections, but this issue is too important for a sloppy, hurried process.
Photo credit: Ted Eytan/Creative Commons
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