Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appeared dumbfounded while muttering through some unsatisfactory answers as California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris grilled him on Wednesday. And he was back in the hot seat on Thursday when Harris asked about his opinion on marriage equality, which he refused to answer.
“The question is very specific,” Harris said. “Can you comment on your personal opinion on whether Obergefell [the case that decided national marriage equality] was correctly decided? It's a yes or no. Please.”
Rather than answer Harris’s direct question, Kavanaugh turned to the recent decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd, v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
“Justice Kennedy wrote, ‘The days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans or treating gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth are over,’” Kavanaugh said.
In fact, he quoted a decision in a case in which the majority of the Supreme Court sided, in a narrow decision, with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple based on his religious beliefs. The majority decided that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which had sanctioned the baker Jack Phillips failed to give his religious beliefs appropriate consideration. The Trump administration took the decision as a win.
Responding to Kavanaugh's quoting Kennedy, Harris asked if he agreed with the statement that the days of discriminating against LGBTQ people are over.
“That is the precedent of the Supreme Court agreed with by...” Kavanaugh began.
“Sir, I’m asking your opinion. You’re the nominee right now so it is probative of your ability to serve on the highest court in our land,” Harris pressed. “So I’m asking you a very specific question. Either you’re willing to answer or not. And if you’re not willing to answer it, we can move on. Do you believe Obergefell was correctly decided?
“Each of the justices have declined as a matter of judicial independence. Each of them to answer questions…” Kavanaugh dissembled.
"So you will not answer that question?" Harris asked.
He did not answer the question and Harris insisted on moving on rather than allowing him to waste her time.
I asked Brett Kavanaugh a very specific question: does he believe the case that made marriage equality the law of the land was correctly decided?
He refused to answer. pic.twitter.com/FO6kCLmk2f
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 7, 2018