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DI Statement re: Kavanaugh Nomination

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

 

For Immediate Release
July 10, 2018

Contact
Myke Bybee: (202) 567-6103
mbybee@democracyinitiative.org
 

Dear DI Partners and Friends, 

The nomination of Kavanaugh to SCOTUS continues bold attacks on healthcare, voting and civil rights, the right to choose, immigrants, and working people. Nov 6, is our day to flex our muscle and collectively push back on the attacks. Vote Nov. 6, and engage daily to win on the issues that matter most. #KavanaughSCOTUS

Several of the organizations represented on our Board have released their own statements on the nomination. Links and statements are below.

 

In Solidarity, 

The DI Team

 

https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2018/07/sierra-club-statement-trump-s-nomination-brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court

https://www.naacp.org/latest/naacp-statement-nomination-brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court/  

https://aflcio.org/press/releases/judge-brett-kavanaugh-puts-rights-working-people-serious-risk

https://www.cwa-union.org/news/releases/cwa-opposes-nomination-of-judge-brett-kavanaugh-supreme-court

The People Want to Know Judge Kavanaugh's Views on Our Democracy

 

Sierra Club: 

Today, Donald Trump announced he plans to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s recently vacated seat on the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Kavanaugh was added to Trump’s short list of nominees by extremist right-wing organizations who selected candidates who will pave the way for attacks on the environment, dismantling worker protections, gutting Roe v. Wade, and criminalizing women’s health. 

While on the DC Circuit, Kavanaugh consistently sided with polluters over the best interest of the public and the agencies charged with protecting the public's health, welfare, and the environment. His decisions on the DC Circuit are far to the right. His track record includes attacks on the EPA, workers, women's health, and net neutrality. Judge Kavanaugh presents a great threat to the faithful application of our nation’s bedrock public health and environmental laws should he become a Justice on the Supreme Court. 

The Sierra Club will join others on the steps of the Supreme Court tonight at 9:30 p.m. to rally against Trump’s pick. 

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement: 

"The American people deserve a Supreme Court justice who is fair, even-handed, and thoughtful, who will act in the best interest of everyone who lives in the United States, not just corporate polluters, right-wing extremists, and the most wealthy. But instead, Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, an extreme ideologue who has time and again proven himself hostile to commonsense environmental safeguards, women’s rights, voting rights, and the rights of workers. Kavanaugh’s views puts the demands of polluters and big corporations before the rights of people, and he cannot be trusted to protect our communities, our air and water, or our climate. 

“This decision over the next Supreme Court justice is poised to shape the direction of our country. The American people deserve a justice who will put their interests first and not move the court far to the right. Kavanaugh is an extremist who will work only on behalf of the wealthy. We strongly urge Senators, who are elected to represent and protect the American people, to speak up for families across the nation and reject Trump’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, full stop.” 

 

AFL-CIO: 

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States: 

Judge Kavanaugh has a dangerous track record of protecting the privileges of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of working people. Any Supreme Court nominee must be fair, independent and committed to protecting the rights, freedoms and legal safeguards of all Americans. Judge Kavanaugh does not meet this standard and must not be confirmed. 

Judge Kavanaugh routinely rules against working families, regularly rejects employees’ right to receive employer-provided health care, too often sides with employers in denying employees relief from discrimination in the workplace and promotes overturning well-established U.S. Supreme Court precedent. 

The current Supreme Court has shown that it will side with greedy corporations over working people whenever given the chance, and this nominee will only skew that further. Recent decisions by the court, often the result of 5-4 votes, have a dramatic impact on the lives of working families and reinforce the importance of the selection of a new justice. We simply cannot have another lifetime-appointed justice unleashed who, as Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, acts as a “black-robed ruler overriding citizens’ choices.” 

Working people expect the Supreme Court to be the fairest and most independent branch of government in America. Any senator who believes Supreme Court justices should protect the rights of all Americans should reject this nomination and demand a nominee who will protect the rights of working people and uphold our constitutional values of liberty, equality and justice for all. Across the country, working people are organizing and taking collective action as we haven’t seen in years, and we won’t stand for any politician who supports justices who put our rights at risk. 

 

NAACP: 

NAACP, the nation’s foremost civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: 

Today, our nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment transformed our democracy by guaranteeing to all persons the right to equal protection under the law. 

150 years after its passage, our nation still struggles to realize the promise of equality under the Fourteenth Amendment. The next appointment to the Supreme Court is pivotal to that struggle. The rights of African Americans to fully participate in democracy and in every facet of social and economic life, on an equal basis, lie in the balance. 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. 

Brett Kavanaugh is a dangerous ideologue whose extreme views on civil rights would solidify a far right majority on the Supreme Court. Coming after Neil Gorsuch’s appointment, a Kavanaugh confirmation would re-make the Court in President Trump’s own image. This prospect is unacceptable to the American people, and the NAACP is ready to lead the fight of a generation. 

The NAACP knows Judge Kavanaugh well. We opposed his confirmation to the D.C. Circuit for good reason.  In his 12 years on the bench, he has proven us correct. He has been a strong and consistent voice for the wealthy and the powerful. Over and over again, he has ruled against civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer rights, and women’s rights. 

With a Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, we could see reversals of hard-won gains securing equal opportunity in education, employment and housing.  We could see further exclusion of communities of color from participation in our democracy.  We could see racism continue to flourish within the criminal justice system.  We could see the 

elimination of effective tools for proving discrimination.  We could see the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the guarantee to accessible health care for millions. 

The NAACP has understood the importance of fair-minded justices since 1930 when we helped defeat a Herbert Hoover nominee to the Supreme Court, John Parker. We will fight this Trump nomination with everything we’ve got. Our state conferences, branches and units are fully engaged to tell their Senators that our civil rights hang in the balance and that Kavanaugh must be defeated. 

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. 

 

CWA: 

CWA opposes the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and calls on members of the U.S. Senate to reject this nomination. 

Decisions of the Supreme Court can have a dramatic impact on working people's rights, freedoms and legal safeguards, as we saw in cases this past term like Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 and National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil.

Judge Kavanaugh routinely rules against workers and their families and regularly sides with employers against employees seeking justice in the workplace, including CWA members. Just last year, Kavanaugh issued a partial dissent in a case involving more than 300 NABET-CWA technicians at CNN who lost their jobs and the benefits of union representation in the wake of the company’s phony reorganization scheme to get rid of union workers. He concluded that the company was not liable for violations of the National Labor Relations Act and should not have to pay back wages. He has stood with AT&T to prevent CWA members in Connecticut who interact with customers or work in public from wearing union shirts protesting their treatment by the company. He has held that a waiver of a right to picket allowed Verizon to prevent workers from displaying pro-union signs in their cars. 

Judge Kavanaugh's unwillingness to protect workers even extends to life-and-death situations. In a case which involved the death of a Sea World trainer who was working with a killer whale, he dissented from the majority, holding that the Department of Labor lacks authority to regulate activities of participants in sports events or entertainment shows in order to protect their health and safety. 

Working people can’t afford to have Judge Kavanaugh making decisions that without doubt will adversely affect our families and our communities. We need and deserve a Supreme Court Justice who understands and respects the importance of the laws and protections for working people in this country, including the right to form unions, to be free from discrimination, to have a safe workplace, and to be paid for all hours worked. 

Based on his record, we can expect that Judge Kavanaugh will continue to protect the interests of already powerful corporate CEOs instead of working families. 

 

Common Cause:

Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

With President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and with so much at stake for future generations, the Senate must focus on core principles of democracy as it decides whether to give its consent to this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.   

As the third branch of our government, Americans expect the judiciary to uphold equal justice under law. The Constitution places the ultimate power in our democracy with the people who, through amendments, have written our voices generation after generation, into an ever-expanding vision of our democracy. American democracy has historically been a beacon of freedom to the world because we have steadily expanded who has a say in the future we create together, extending democracy’s freedom, liberty, and each individual’s pursuit of happiness to more people.

Americans’ trust in the Court, as with other civic institutions, has suffered as a five-justice majority empowered corporations to spend unlimited amounts of their funds to influence elections in Citizens United, gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, and just last month undermined the collective voices of working families when it overturned decades of well-settled labor law in Janus. These decisions collectively shift power away from the people toward wealthy special interests.

In this moment, the people need to know, and the Senate must press Judge Kavanaugh, on his values, approach to judging, and vision. Among many critical questions, senators should ask: 

  • Can Judge Kavanaugh reassure Americans that they can fairly sit in judgment of President Trump — a subject of ongoing criminal investigations —  and apply the rule that no person is above the law? 
  • Has Judge Kavanaugh pledged a loyalty oath to President Trump? 
  • What is Judge Kavanaugh’s definition of originalism, and does he identify as an “originalist”? 
  • What is Judge Kavanaugh’s view of political equality as a constitutional principle? 
  • What is Judge Kavanaugh’s view of the Supreme Court as a check and balance in our constitutional system? 
  • Did the Supreme Court comport appropriately with the doctrine of stare decisis in Citizens UnitedShelby County, and Janus
  • If confirmed, will Judge Kavanaugh comply with the Code of Conduct for United States Judges? 
  • What is Judge Kavanaugh’s view of the president’s decision to outsource judicial vetting to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, and why did his name appear on the list of nominees? 

There is no facet of American society that is unaffected by the Supreme Court. Americans deserve to know how Judge Kavanaugh will uphold his obligation to deliver equal justice for all. Common Cause will research the nominee’s record on matters of democracy and press senators to do their job and elicit honest answers before voting to approve a lifetime seat.

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