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Weekend Read: We oppose Kavanaugh

We’re in danger of losing the federal courts for a generation.

By ignoring the credible accusations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump and the Republican Senate have demonstrated just how far they will go to put a right-wing ideologue on the U.S. Supreme Court.

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, we may no longer be able to rely on the Supreme Court to protect the rights of the most vulnerable people in our country.

Even worse, much of our progress toward economic, social and racial justice could be rolled back.

Kavanaugh has repeatedly voted to uphold the interests of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of workers, consumers and communities of color. Take his hostility to affirmative action or his record on cases involving the criminal justice system. Kavanaugh has adopted an expansive view of police’s “stop and frisk” power and written the decision upholding the same photo ID law that the Department of Justice rejected as discriminatory.

With Kavanaugh’s nomination approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee pushing his nomination to the full Senate, everything is at stake — from marriage equality to voting rights, access to health care to reproductive rights, racial equality to religious freedom, and more.

Trump’s announcement that he was picking Kavanaugh on the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment was especially notable.

Enacted just after the Civil War, it guaranteed citizenship to all people born in the United States in addition to equal protection of the law and due process. It was what the Supreme Court cited to extend the rights of citizens in Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.

If Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court, that could all change.

That’s why we joined nine other Alabama-based civil rights organizations to urge U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Doug Jones to vote against his nomination.

“Judge Kavanaugh’s troubling record on protecting the rights of the most vulnerable in our society convinces us that he is not suited for a lifetime appointment to the court,” we wrote. “Our concerns about him have been exacerbated by his seeming lack of candor during the confirmation process.”

Jones has since said he will vote against Kavanaugh. Unfortunately, Shelby continues to back him. 

Thursday’s committee hearing was a painful reminder of the "lack of candor" we warned the senators about in our letter. Yet the truth is that Kavanaugh is just the tip of the iceberg.

For nearly two years, Trump has been quietly stacking the federal judiciary with judges who are hostile to civil rights.

We know that we won’t be able to depend on the federal courts to protect the rights of marginalized and vulnerable people in our country — much less make further progress toward equality and fairness — if Kavanaugh’s nomination goes forward.

Our country deserves better.

The Editors.

P.S. Here are some other pieces we think are valuable:

SPLC's Weekend Reads are a weekly summary of the most important reporting and commentary from around the country on civil rights, economic and racial inequity, and hate and extremism. Sign up to receive Weekend Reads every Saturday morning.

AP Photo / Gabriella Demczuk