By Valerie Ploumpis, National Policy Director
As the confirmation hearings for Trump’s radical Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh begin, here’s a quick reminder of what’s at stake for our LGBTQ community:
Hand-picked by anti-LGBTQ special interest groups, Kavanaugh’s record is far to the right of his colleagues on the DC Circuit Court — even Republican appointees. He has consistently voted to uphold the interests of the wealthy and powerful over the rights of all Americans and has demonstrated hostility to hard-won legal protections for LGBTQ people, people of color and immigrants, women, workers, consumers, immigrants, seniors and people with disabilities.
How equal are our marriages? Can bakers, florists, restaurants and adoption agencies refuse us service just because they don’t approve of our sexual orientation or gender identity? Can brave transgender service members continue to serve honorably in our military? In the coming years, the Supreme Court will be asked to decide these critical questions. And with a Justice Kavanaugh on the Court, it’s clear that a majority of justices would allow the personal beliefs of some individuals to dictate the lives of LGBTQ people.
Judge Kavanaugh’s dangerous view of the Second Amendment values gun rights over the lives of our children, family and friends. In 2011, he dissented from a decision upholding Washington, DC’s assault-style weapons ban and its requirement that handgun owners register their weapons. Talk about radical — Kavanaugh’s position that the Second Amendment gives people the right to own an AR-15 or other assault-style weapons puts him at odds with EVERY OTHER federal and state appeals court that has addressed this issue.
Kavanaugh attacked the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act which has provided affordable, comprehensive, non-discriminatory healthcare since being enacted has protected more than 130 million Americans with a pre-existing conditions, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, mental health, and substance use disorders. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could charge people with pre-existing conditions more, drop their coverage once they got sick, or deny coverage altogether.
Kavanaugh’s opposition to Roe v. Wade put him on Trump’s short-list of Supreme Court nominees. He has ruled in favor of religiously-affiliated employers seeking to opt out of paying for employees’ contraceptive coverage, and just last year, he fought the abortion of a pregnant immigrant teenager in a detention center, seeking to delay her desperate, constitutionally-protected request until it was too late to end her pregnancy.
But perhaps most frightening — at this time in American history, when President Trump attacks our democratic norms and institutions on a daily basis — Kavanaugh believes the president is above the law; he has written legal opinions that a sitting president cannot be charged with civil or criminal suits, and can even ignore a law, if he so chooses.
Kavanaugh’s voting record does not reflect mainstream views; he has consistently opposed environmental protections, commonsense gun laws, expanded voting rights and basic campaign finance reform. If confirmed, his rightwing views would swing the balance on the Supreme Court for decades.