Donald Trump just named his choice for the newly opened seat on the Supreme Court — and as expected, it’s not good news.
In a primetime announcement with the build-up and pageantry of a game show, Trump announced that he was nominating federal circuit court judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. Of course, he shouldn’t get this choice, after what Republicans did to Merrick Garland in an election year. But the GOP doesn’t play fair, so we have to face reality and start fighting.
Kavanaugh has a nightmare resume, with a hand in just about every travesty of the past two decades. He worked for Kenneth Starr during his long and ridiculous investigation of the Clinton White House, then helped run the Bush White House. In 2006, during a confirmation hearing, Chuck Schumer summed it up nicely: “If there has been a partisan political fight that needed a very bright foot soldier in the last decade,” he said, “Brett Kavanaugh was probably there.”
And Trump may need him in a fight sooner rather than later. Kavanaugh in 2009 made a splash by writing that he believed the President of the United States should be exempt from criminal prosecution, effectively turning a democracy into a dictatorship given how spineless the GOP Senate has proven itself.
As a right-wing conservative, Kavanaugh, if confirmed, is also likely to be an opponent of abortion rights and fair representation in government. He’s voted against assault weapons bans. He’s hostile to labor. He ticks off all the wrong boxes. And as the fifth member of a conservative bloc, he could deliver major devastation to national protection for our most basic freedoms.
So let’s get to work. Jam up the phone lines for moderate Republican senators who will be on the fence about Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Here’s Maine Senator Susan Collins’s office’s website. Here’s a link to Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s contact info.
In between calls, let’s also get working on rebuilding our country so that our most basic freedoms aren’t on the line every few weeks. Should Kavanaugh get confirmed, it will be up to the states to protect its citizens. Overturning Roe v. Wade — whether incrementally or in one fell swoop — won’t make abortion illegal, but free states to do so themselves. (And many states are already pushing the limit, restricting reproductive choice more and more.) The Supreme Court won’t ever gerrymander or limit access to the ballot box; it will just give state governments the go-ahead to kneecap voter rights.
We are building out a slate of candidates we consider Supreme Court insurance — state senate candidates in crucial (and flippable) legislatures, gubernatorial candidates, and state supreme court nominees.
Earlier this year, Iowa passed the most restrictive anti-choice bill in the nation, banning abortion at the point at which a fetus has a heartbeat. That’s about six weeks after conception, which is often before women even realize they are pregnant. Planned Parenthood of Iowa almost immediately sued, and soon after, a judge placed a temporary injunction against the law — which was exactly what the Iowa GOP wanted to happen. Now, the measure will work its way through the court system, with a chance to be heard by the Supreme Court.
That makes this fall’s Iowa gubernatorial campaign absolutely critical. If Democrat Fred Hubbell can unseat GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds, he can stop the state from defending the law in court, defusing that major threat. With that in mind, we are officially supporting Hubbell’s campaign in what should be a very close race.
In Ohio, the state GOP is pushing an even more pernicious law that would ban abortions altogether, even in the case of incest or rape. State senators know that it would immediately be challenged, but again, that’s the point. They want to get this blatantly illegal policy into the court system, so that it has a chance of blowing up Roe v Wade for good.
Governor John Kasich, a Republican, has cautioned against this bill, but the GOP right now has the supermajority needed to override any veto. That means that not only do we need to elect a Democratic governor this fall — former Consumer Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray is the nominee in a tight race — but also fight to take back the legislature (or at least break that supermajority). With that in mind, we’re also supporting Lauren Friedman and Lorraine Wilburn, pro-choice candidates who are running for the legislature in districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.
Both women were inspired to get involved by Trump’s election, and they have some pretty fantastic stories. One stellar example: Wilburn delivered a birthday cake to the office of her GOP congressman, Jim Renacci, on the 7th anniversary of the passage of Obamacare. And Friedman said it best: “When you’re desperate and your elected officials don’t listen to you, you have to get creative.”
Because there are so many other states that restrict abortion rights and so many races to be fought, we’re also backing Emily’s List, an organization that trains and supports pro-choice Democratic women running for office.