Last night Pres. Trump announced that he is nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the United States Supreme Court, a nominee that has been backed by the anti-LGBTQ extremist group the Family Research Council.
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which litigates in federal and state courts on behalf of the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV, issued the following statement from its executive director Janson Wu:
Any justice confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court must be committed to hearing arguments fairly and with an open mind from all Americans—not simply the wealthy few—and to preserving foundational constitutional principles of equal protection, due process, and liberty.
We urge Senators to take extremely seriously their duty to ensure a nominee is not pushed through to a seat on our nation’s highest court who does not support or cannot demonstrate through word and deed a clear dedication to upholding our constitutional guarantees of equality for all.
We have severe concerns about Judge Kavanaugh’s ability to meet this standard, and reason to fear his nomination is based on predetermined ideology, not a commitment to justice. As a candidate, the President pledged he would only nominate judges who would
- overturn Roe v. Wade – a ruling viewed by the majority of Americans as settled law. A decision overturning Roe would not only make abortion illegal in many states, but could undermine legal precedents supporting the individual right to raise children, have consensual adult sex, use contraception, and marry—without the government telling you what you can and cannot do.
- rule against the Affordable Care Act – which has provided basic health care coverage to millions of Americans who need it – upending the Court’s prior ruling upholding the constitutionality of the law.
It is the responsibility of the United States Senate to vet in exacting detail anyone who aspires to sit on our nation’s highest court which is the final decider on so many crucial issues, with no further appeal. With so much at stake, we urge the Senate not to rush forward a confirmation process. But should Judge Kavanaugh reach that process, our Senators cannot rely on vague promises about precedent and settled law, but must press Judge Kavanaugh for specific answers to tough questions, including the nominee’s opinions on well-established cases and foundational principles in constitutional law.
This is a perilous moment in our nation for all of us, especially the most vulnerable, who rely on the Court’s constitutional role to safeguard our rights and protect our liberties. The list of critical issues likely to be brought before the Court in coming years should motivate each of us: attempts to gut health care access and reproductive rights; further attacks on affirmative action and civil rights; whether voting rights are protected and our electoral system lives up to our democratic ideals; efforts to carve out new exemptions to anti-discrimination laws; attacks on the rights of transgender students; efforts to render the marriages of same-sex couples unequal and to scale back the equal citizenship of LGBTQ people; decisions that will determine how and whether we preserve our planet; whether we will continue to be a nation that welcomes immigrants and refugees; how far we will tolerate the stretch of corporate influence; as well as sobering questions about the reach of the President’s power – to name but a few.
It is incumbent upon every one of us to be engaged, to hold our Senators to account, and to ensure that our Constitution’s promise and the integrity of our highest court are upheld.
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Legal Director Shannon Minter issued the below statement in response to President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Minter, a transgender man who has been litigating LGBT legal cases for more than 20 years, is one of the lead attorneys working to stop Trump’s transgender military ban in Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump and was part of the team of attorneys to win national marriage equality in the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges.
“For decades, the Supreme Court has recognized the fundamental equality of LGBT people under the law. The Court’s landmark decisions in cases such as Romer, Lawrence, and Obergefell are deeply rooted in the Court’s jurisprudence and have been relied upon by millions of LGBT people and others. Any backtracking on those precedents would be unthinkable.
At the same time, the potential for decisions that cause lasting harm to LGBT people and their families is real as new issues and cases come before the Court. We urge the Senate to explore these issues carefully and to ensure that any person who sits on our nation’s highest court understands the realities facing LGBT communities and others for whom our Constitution’s promise of freedom and equality is not yet fully realized. To date, there is nothing in Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s record to indicate that he understands the real-world impact of discrimination on LGBT people or the importance of construing our nation’s laws to enable them to participate fully and equally in society. The Supreme Court must be a court for all, not just for the privileged few.
It is sobering that a president who has shown disregard for many of our nation’s most cherished rights and freedoms has an opportunity to appoint a second justice to the Supreme Court. This moment is a wake-up call to LGBT people and others about the critical importance of elections and the need to vote this November.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement (via a video)after President Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court:
“Judge Kavanaugh should not be allowed anywhere near our nation’s highest bench. Let’s be clear: a vote for Kavanaugh would be a vote to rip health care from American families and deny women their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions.
“We know exactly why Kavanaugh was chosen. President Trump himself said that overturning Roe v. Wade and gutting the Affordable Care Act would be litmus tests for his Supreme Court nominee, and Kavanaugh fits the script. He’s suggested a future president could refuse to enforce the Affordable Care Act, even if it was upheld by the Supreme Court. And he dissented from a ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit.
“Majorities of Americans support Roe v. Wade and want to protect the Affordable Care Act. So President Trump and Judge Kavanaugh don’t just stand in opposition to democratic principles, they stand against the American people. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would threaten women’s rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, and voting rights for generations to come. Immigrants, LGBTQ Americans, people of color, and people with disabilities would be pushed further to the margins. And wealthy corporations and polluters would gain yet another powerful protector.
“Our Supreme Court must always protect people’s constitutional rights and serve as a check on the powers of the executive branch. By picking Kavanaugh, who has expressed his disturbing views of presidential power, Trump is attempting to turn our highest judicial institution into a rubber stamp for right-wing Republican ideology. Kavanaugh is unacceptable, and any senator who cares about the rights and dignity of the American people should oppose his confirmation.
“We blocked health care repeal last year because Americans came together, spoke out, and held Republican senators accountable. The only way to stop this nomination now is to fight again. Call your senator and vote in November. Democrats must make our voices heard at the ballot box for the millions of American families who are counting on us.”