More than 100 civil rights groups, including several national LGBT groups, have signed on to a letter opposing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice to replace Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring.
“Judge Kavanaugh’s 12-year record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as well as his known writings, speeches, and legal career, demonstrate that if he were confirmed to the Supreme Court, he would be the fifth and decisive vote to undermine many of our core rights and legal protections, reads the letter, addressed to the U.S. Senate, which has confirmation power.
“In case after case, he has ruled against individuals and the environment in favor of corporations, the wealthy, and the powerful. He has advanced extreme legal theories to overturn longstanding precedent to diminish the power of federal agencies to help people. And he has demonstrated an expansive view of presidential power that includes his belief that presidents should not be subject to civil suits or criminal investigations while in office despite what misconduct may have occurred.”
With the retirement of Kennedy, who has been the court’s swing vote, siding at times with liberals and at times with conservatives, the letter points out, “critical civil and human rights issues hang in the balance, including access to health care for millions of Americans, the ability of women to control their own bodies, voting rights, labor rights, economic security, rights of immigrants and persons with disabilities, LGBTQ equality, equal opportunity and affirmative action, environmental protections, and whether the judiciary will serve as a constitutional check on a reckless president.” Kennedy has also been an LGBT rights champion.
It further notes, “Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court was the product of a deeply flawed and biased process in which President Trump outsourced his constitutional duties to two right-wing special interest groups: the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. These extremist organizations pre-approved candidates, including Judge Kavanaugh, based on the dangerous and unprecedented litmus tests that President Trump put forward as a presidential candidate.” Trump had promised to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion rights ruling, and gut the Affordable Care Act.
The letter goes on to detail problematic opinions from Kavanaugh, which demonstrate his hostility to reproductive rights — he dissented from a decision allowing an undocumented teenage immigrant to obtain and abortion — and his desire to undermine the ACA. It also discusses his lack of interest in protecting voting rights and environmental protections, and his expansive view of presidential power. The latter could affect the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian agents seeking to influence the election’s outcome.
LGBT groups endorsing the letter include GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and PFLAG. The signatories also include organizations working for women’s rights, labor rights, racial justice, and environmental protection. It was spearheaded by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Read the full letter here.