Equal Voice looks at a sample of grassroots reaction to the July 9 nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Grassroots leaders are concerned.
A day after President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a host of national leaders from civil rights, LGBTQ, health care and women’s organizations called for a thorough review by the Senate before any confirmation vote is held.
Among their concerns: Whether Kavanaugh would vote against parts of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as well as curb abortion or reproductive freedom, as some call it and which is protected under the 1973 case, Roe v. Wade.
Often in strong language, leaders argued that workers, women, people of color, families, those with disabilities, among others, might not enjoy the full rights to participate in society, should Kavanaugh, who is a judge on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
In announcing his decision on July 9, Trump praised the 53-year-old judge as brilliant and a clear thinker. He is, Trump said, “universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time,” according to The Associated Press.
In his nomination acceptance remarks, Kavanaugh, whom The Associated Press described as “solidly conservative,” said his job would be to protect the U.S. Constitution. “A judge must interpret the Constitution as written,” he said, adding that a judge does “not make the law.”
By the evening of July 9, though, public rallies involving people concerned about his nomination were held outside the Supreme Court. As his nomination process continues and is likely to stretch through November, here are reactions from national and grassroots leaders to the news, as collected by Equal Voice:
Nan Aron, president and CEO of Alliance for Justice:
“We will not accept a vision of America in which women, and people of color, and LGBTQ Americans, and people with disabilities, and workers, and immigrants, and people of all faiths do not enjoy full participation in our society and full and equal rights.”
“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.”
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the 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.”
Curt Decker, NDRN (National Disability Rights Network) executive director:
“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.”
Eliot Fishman in an analysis for Families USA, which works with health care consumers:
“In the coming years, federal courts will be hearing cases that involve the basic pillars of our health care system, jeopardizing the health care of millions of people. Between now and 2020, there is a significant chance that the Supreme Court could decide on any or all of the following major health care issues (including Affordable Care Act, abortion services, Medicaid health coverage for low-income Americans).”
George Goehl, director of People’s Action:
“We will fight…for a Supreme Court justice who will uphold the Constitution and Bill of Rights for the common good.”
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:
“Access to health care is a civil and human rights issue of profound importance….From criminal justice to immigrant justice, voting rights and the rights of LGBTQ people, our civil and human rights hang in the balance with this Supreme Court nomination.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund:
“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.”
Brad Wong is content editor for Equal Voice. Equal Voice is Marguerite Casey Foundation’s publication featuring stories of America’s families creating social change. With Equal Voice, we challenge how people think and talk about poverty in America.