The End of Illusions

On Monday morning Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the 9th seat on the United States Supreme Court. The nominee is the culmination of a 45 year campaign against Roe v. Wade and the legal decisions guaranteeing individual rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. Justice Elena Kagan put it succinctly: the conservative justices have become “black-robed rulers overriding citizens’ choices.” We must resist this nomination in order to recapture the Court and American constitutional law from conservative ideologues who are determined to deny citizens the right to free democratic choice and individual autonomy.

The Supreme Court has long been divided between four solidly conservative Justices and four relatively liberal Justices. Then there was Justice Anthony Kennedy whose opinions would swing from an extreme conservative to a strong defender of a handful of individual rights under the 14thAmendment, including women’s rights to reproductive choice and LGBTQ rights to be free from criminal prosecution and to marry. Kennedy has retired and his replacement will sit on the court for many decades. This one appointment will likely determine the course of American constitutional law for much of our lifetimes.

No one will be left unaffected by this choice. By many measures the current Court is already more conservative than any court in more than 100 years. The conservatives on the court have repeatedly shown that they will substitute their will for that of the American people. The rights that are most immediately threatened include the right to abortion and women’s right to control their reproductive choices at every level; the prohibition against gender and disabilities discrimination in employment, business and the courts; LGBTQ rights of all kinds; voting rights enforcement; prohibiting government corruption; and the right to organize effective unions. Over the next four decades this Justice will rule on every corner where the law touches our lives.

The American people should know the thoughts and opinions of a person who is going to serve as one of the most powerful people in the US. There is no reason that the nominee cannot discuss their views on long settled cases such as Roe v Wade and Brown v Board of Education. As part of the conservative strategy to pack the Court with hardliners recent Supreme Court nominees have refused to comment on important precedents such as these. This is unacceptable for the current nomination.

 In a statement that should become our rallying cry, Justice Elena Kagan objected to the conservative Court’s distorted interpretation of the Constitution stating, “The First Amendment was meant for better things. It was meant not to undermine but to protect democratic governance...”

Call To Action

  1. Call both of your Senators EARLY AND OFTEN. Demand that the vote on Kavanaugh be delayed until after the mid-term elections. This is the logic that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used to deny a vote to President Obama’s 2018 choice for the Supreme Court.  McConnell should have to live with this precedent for a nominee he supports.
  2. Tell your Senators and anyone who will listen that the next Supreme Court nominee MUST answer questions on whether Roe v Wade (abortion rights), Obergefell v Hodges (gay marriage) and, yes, even Brown v Board of Education (separate education is not equal education) were correctly decided and should remain settled law.
  3. Become an activist on behalf of the Constitution. Liberals have been blissfully ignorant of the political nature of the Court for 45 years while conservatives have gamed a flawed system.  Supporting Demand Justice  is one way to get involved.  Founded in early 2018, Demand Justice is a left-of-center 501(c)(4) advocacy group that aims to influence the political leanings of America’s courts by supporting the appointment of liberal judicial nominees and opposing right-of-center nominees. The organization acts primarily through media campaigns against nominated and unconfirmed judicial nominees.