Kavanaugh fight roils an already ugly political climate
Congressional Black Caucus says Kavanaugh would weaken Voting Rights Act protections
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) held a press conference Thursday urging senators on the Judiciary Committee to reject the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's latest pick for the Supreme Court.
In the news conference, lawmakers and civil rights activists argued that Kavanaugh would weaken provisions of the Voting Rights Act and be a general threat to civil rights.
"We are particularly concerned about Judge Kavanaugh's likely impact on voting rights for communities that have historically been targeted for exclusion from the electorate," a statement from the CBC reads, citing his ruling in the South Carolina v. United States voter ID case.
The group added that Kavanaugh "condoned barriers to voter participation enacted by states" while issuing opinions that "ignored the disparate impact of the photo ID law on African-Americans and the real people who were hurt by the South Carolina law."
Democrats have complained that not enough is known about Kavanaugh's judicial views due to the lack of complete records from his time in the George W. Bush White House.
"We stand in solidarity with Sen. [Cory] Booker [D-N.J.] and Sen. [Maizie] Hirono [D-Hawaii] and their efforts to make the racial profiling documents public," CBC Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) said, referring to some of those documents.
"As a person who, throughout my life, has had to deal with racial profiling, if there is a nominee to the highest court in the land that has expressed troubling concerns on this issue, or if the concerns are not troubling ... concerns should be made public," he continued. "We will stand with both senators, whatever they decide to do, to make this information public."
The statements followed a press release from the CBC earlier this week stating that the 84-member caucus would officially oppose Kavanaugh's nomination. In the release, the members pointed to his ruling on the South Carolina voter ID case, in which Kavanaugh expressed skepticism toward claims that the law was racially motivated.
"In light of the disproportionate numbers of African-Americans who have been disenfranchised, it is unsettling that a nominee to the highest court expressed skepticism about the law's clear racial impact in a state with a long history of disenfranchisement of African-Americans," they wrote.
The press conference Thursday came amid Booker and Hirono releasing documents designated as "committee confidential" to the public, in violation of rules set forth by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Hirono and Booker have acknowledged that their actions violated Senate rules, and have stated they are prepared to accept consequences.
"I am right now, before your process is finished, I am going to release the email about racial profiling, and I understand the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate," Booker said at Thursday's hearing.