Within minutes of the primetime announcement by President Donald Trump of his choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the resignation/retirement of Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, California Senator Kamala Harris issued a statement in opposition to the selection of U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
“The Supreme Court has a profound impact on the rights—and lives—of all Americans. When at its best, it has advanced the meaning of those words above its doors, ‘Equal Justice Under Law.’ At its worst, the Supreme Court has upheld racial segregation, enabled voter suppression, and equated corporations with people. Whether or not the Supreme Court enforces the spirit of those words, ‘Equal Justice Under Law,’ is determined by the individuals who sit on that Court,” Harris proclaimed in her opening comments.
According to Harris, Kavanaugh represents a direct and fundamental threat to that promise of equality stating, “I will oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court. Specifically, as a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy, his nomination presents an existential threat to the health care of hundreds of millions of Americans.”
In her statement, Harris proceeded to remind voters that during the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump made clear that he had a litmus test for Supreme Court Justices—to overturn Roe v. Wade and oppose a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to make her own health care decisions. The President then released a list of nominees who had been vetted to meet that test—Judge Kavanaugh is on that list.
Harris continued, “Judge Kavanaugh has consistently proven to be a conservative ideologue instead of a mainstream jurist. As recently as last year, he disregarded Supreme Court precedent and opposed the health care rights of a vulnerable young woman. That ruling was overturned by all the judges on his court. In 2015, Kavanaugh wrote that an employer, based on their personal beliefs, can deny their employee access to birth control coverage.”
Harris has an intimate understanding of just how consequential this seat on the Supreme Court is. She shared that almost two decades after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, she was part of only the second class to integrate the public schools in Berkeley, California. “If that Court had not issued that unanimous opinion led by Chief Justice Earl Warren in that case argued by Thurgood Marshall, I likely would not have become a lawyer, or a prosecutor, or been elected district attorney, or the Attorney General of California. And I certainly would not have become a United States Senator,” she argued in her statement.
“That’s the power an individual Supreme Court Justice holds. Those are the stakes of this nomination, Harris stressed and concluding, “We must demand a mainstream jurist worthy of our great country.”