Brett Kavanaugh is a threat to women, workers, and the environment

Getty Images

On Jan. 21, 2017, more than two million women marched on Washington with a message for Donald Trump: Hands off our bodies, our health care, our Social Security and our planet.

Over the last 18 months, we have been horrified to witness the Trump administration’s all-out assault on women’s rights, immigrants, the working class and environmental regulations.

{mosads}Trump’s decision to nominate DC Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court could do more long-lasting damage to the American people than any of Trump’s ill-conceived actions to date. In particular, Kavanaugh’s nomination risks the health care of millions of Americans — by threatening their ACA benefits.

“If Kavanaugh is handed a lifetime appointment to SCOTUS, it would threaten the future of affordable, accessible health care for women — and particularly women of color,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York Democrat.  

In a recent CNN/SSRS poll, only 28 percent of women believe that Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Overall only 37 percent of Americans believe that he should be confirmed, the lowest number since the failed confirmation of Robert Bork by Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Kavanaugh’s nomination hangs on a razor thin edge. With John McCain no longer in the Senate, Republicans can only afford to lose one vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation to fail. As a result, all eyes are on Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom say they support a woman’s right to choose and have expressed opposition to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Collins, upon meeting with Kavanaugh recently, said that the nominee believes Roe v. Wade is settled law. But can we trust him? In a recent case, Kavanaugh wrote a dissent casting doubt on the high court’s jurisprudence about abortion. We can’t afford to be fooled by a silver-tongued lawyer in the face of grave threats to women’s rights and health care, no matter what he says now.

Women’s rights aren’t the only issue area where Kavanaugh could be dangerous. Kavanaugh has a reliable track record of ruling in favor of corporations over workers, immigrants and environmental protections.

Earlier this year, he sided with a New York company accused of union-busting and violating workers’ rights. And in the infamous 2014 “Blackfish” case, Kavanaugh supported Seaworld’s position after the company was found to have willfully violated safety regulations in the death of an employee.

Kavanaugh’s views on net neutrality are especially alarming. He infamously called the FCC’s net neutrality order an “unlawful” First Amendment violation in a 2017 dissent — claiming that corporate giants like Verizon and Comcast have “free speech” rights, which give them the ability to block or throttle traffic on their networks. This view, which is widely discredited by legal scholars, suggests that big corporarions have the same free speech rights as individuals.

Republicans are fast-tracking Kavanaugh’s confirmation because they want to take advantage of their political leverage before it’s too late. The GOP knows how unpopular Kavanaugh’s nomination is — and that’s why they’re trying to ram through his confirmation before the midterm elections.

The real question for Republicans is whether they will continue to countenance a president who has debased himself and made a mockery of American values. Donald Trump has revealed himself to be a coward and an inveterate liar. A Supreme Court with Kavanaugh might give him the benefit of the doubt when the fullness of Trump’s corruption is revealed.

Here’s the bigger picture. Kavanaugh’s nomination and potential confirmation represent a further consolidation of corporate power by privileged white men. Kavanaugh may be a nice guy, but his ascension to the high court will reaffirm the prevailing Republican Trump agenda: Pro-Wall Street, pro-K Street, anti-immigrant, anti-woman and anti-science.

Perhaps most importantly, Kavanaugh could tip the balance of the court toward favoring presidential power at a time when the federal judiciary’s essential check on the executive branch is needed more than ever. Donald Trump is a fraud and an embarrassment to America. It’s now up to Congress and the federal judiciary to rein in this corrupt excuse for a president.

Influential leaders and members from The Women’s March, NARAL, Ultraviolet, Center For Popular Democracy, and Planned Parenthood are spearheading a week of direct action inside the capitol beginning on Sept. 4 — when Senate Judiciary hearings are expected to begin.

We will show up to defend our rights and oppose Trump’s cynical attack on our democratic values. All senators must consider what is at stake before casting their vote.

Winnie Wong is a senior advisor to Women’s March.

Tags Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination Donald Trump John McCain Kirsten Gillibrand Lisa Murkowski Susan Collins

More Judicial News

See All
See all Hill.TV See all Video