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Stop Kavanaugh: President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee must not join the high court

MARC H. MORIAL | 9/14/2018, 12:54 p.m.
“It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the ...

National Urban League

“It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law.” – Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 531 U.S. 98, Bush v. Gore [Dissent], Dec. 12, 2000

There are many words one could use to describe President Trump’s White House, but you might be hard pressed to choose “transparent” as one of them. It should come as no surprise to anyone who even casually follows politics that a president who bucks decades of tradition and refuses – to this day – to release his tax returns is offering the American public a nominee for the Supreme Court whose public record of work remains largely unknown and unavailable.

Unfortunately, Trump’s campaign and subsequent presidency has acclimated much of the public, and many of our political leaders, to lowered expectations of open and transparent governance, but this growing tolerance for the erosion of institutional democratic norms must stop now or our nation’s highest court, and the hard-fought-for gains of human and civil rights groups, will be lost for generations to come.

If the past is prologue, Judge Brett Kavanaugh will do the civil rights community no favors as a sitting Supreme Court justice. From what we can glean from his court decisions, Kavanaugh has a strong record of ruling against policies and protections that seek to address injustices levied on marginalized communities.

Concerned citizens can call 202-224-3121 to tell their senators to vote no on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

In 2011, President Barack Obama’s administration blocked a South Carolina law requiring residents to show photo ID before voting. In 2012, Kavanaugh wrote an opinion upholding that very same law. In a keynote address to the Heritage Foundation, Kavanaugh shared his view that the Supreme Court was wrong to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate as constitutional. And in his only decision on record concerning abortion rights, Kavanaugh dissented from a decision to allow an undocumented, teenage detainee to seek an abortion, seeking to further delay the process while dismissing the concerns and desires of the young woman.

When fundamental liberties are at stake, the public and our Congress must act. To fully evaluate what kind of justice Kavanaugh will be, we must know what kind of justice and public servant he has been. This is why the National Urban League has joined forces with sister civil rights organizations to demand that Kavanaugh’s Sept. 4 confirmation hearing be delayed until his entire record can be fully, impartially and carefully examined by the Senate.

Based on the research compiled by the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights Under Law and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, he is not fit to serve on the nation’s highest court.

A rushed nomination process conducted without the full trove of government documents and records related to his nomination will leave a cloud of illegitimacy hanging over any eventual nomination and it will undermine the public’s confidence in our nation’s highest court. A Supreme Court appointment is a lifetime appointment. In the recent past, requesting and receiving all relevant documentation and records was the norm. That should remain the case today, especially when so many rights and liberties hang in the balance.