Senate Judiciary Committee Moves Committee Vote on Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh to Sept. 20, 2018
Urge Members of the Senate Judiciary to Vote “No” on Kavanaugh
The Issue: On July 10, 2018, President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. After four days of hearings which began on Sept. 4, we are still left with a number of questions, most importantly why we are rushing a decision as important as alifetime appointment to the US Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.
Until we have a full accounting of the nominee’s full policy beliefs, and until questions of potential perjury are completely resolved, we are left with a candidate who’s incomplete record demonstrates him to be an extremist with no empathy for the very real concerns and needs of most working middle-class Americans or for the unique challenges and concerns of racial and ethnic minority Americans or other historically marginalized people. The NAACP continues to strongly oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
The full Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination on Thursday, 9/20 at its Executive Session.
The vote was originally scheduled to be held on Sept. 13, but under the rules of the Committee any Member of the Committee may ask for a delay of one week. In order to clarify that a postponement was not unexpected or unusual, Chairman Chuck Grassley (IA) issued a delay after Senator (and committee member) Richard Blumenthal (CT) made it clear that the opposition to Senator Kavanaugh’s confirmation was going to ask for a delay.
By most estimates, Judge Kavanaugh’s vetting by the Senate Judiciary Committee included less than 10% of the documents from his legal and administrative carrier in the White House and the federal government. This is a huge disservice to the American people: access to Brett Kavanaugh’s complete records and work history are crucial. As a Judge, Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions are bound by precedents of the Supreme Court.
However, Supreme Court Justices are able to overturn those precedents and apply their own interpretations of the Constitution. Positions Mr. Kavanaugh took in his 3 years as a lawyer and staff member in the George W. Bush administration, a time he has described as “the most formative,” will shed necessary light on how he might rule when unconstrained by a higher legal authority.
Specifically, his job was to provide advice “on any issue that may cross [the President’s] desk.” While we don’t know what all of those issues were, or his thoughts, we know they include the issues of racial profiling, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, a women’s right to control her reproductive life, and even torture.
Some courageous Senators, most notably Senator Cory Booker (NJ), have publicly released documents which were classified“committee confidential,” which means that they were only intended to be viewed by Senate Judiciary Committee members and a few key staff people. This excludes the other 75 Senators who would vote on the nomination and the American people who would be required to live by his decisions.
In fact, more than 40 % of the documents which have been received by Senate Judiciary Committee members — almost 190,000 pages – were labeled “committee confidential.” The documents released by Senator Booker demonstrate Judge Kavanaugh’s thinking on racial profiling (the abhorrent process by which people are stopped or otherwise treated more harshly by law enforcement based entirely on their racial, ethnic or religious appearance), affirmative action, and the ability of the US Supreme Court to reverse itself in the Roe v. Wade decision.
Furthermore, at 6:45 am, on the first day of the hearing, 42,000 pages of documents were made available to Senate Judiciary Committee members and their staff for a hearing which began at 9:30 am. This means that Committee Members and their staffs would have had to read over 254 pages per minute in order to review them all. Finally, for the first time in history, the President has invoked “executive privilege” to withhold more than 101,000 White House documents in which Mr. Kavanaugh was involved. This means crucial information continues to be withheld on a Supreme Court nominee from review by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the full Senate and the American people.
The NAACP has grave concerns about this nomination and about the unnecessary and reckless rush to confirmation.
The fact that President Trump is now considered by many to be an unindicted co-conspirator to federal crimes committed to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election calls into question the legitimacy of his nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.
The Supreme Court will likely be called on to resolve issues related to the extent to which the President can be investigated, subpoenaed, indicted,or prosecuted, and Judge Kavanaugh’s longstanding advocacy for presidential immunity from criminal or civil liability renders him predisposed on a crucial constitutional matters.
It is clear that Judge Kavanaugh does not agree with the majority of the policy priorities of the NAACP. Further, Judge Kavanaugh’simpartiality when it comes to President Trump raises very serious issues and concerns.
The NAACP remains steadfastly opposed to his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is too important. This nomination should only be considered by the Senate elected by the American people in November, 2018, after they have had adequate time to fully review all of the relevant records and after the 116th Congress is seated in January 2019.
THE ACTION WE NEED YOU TO TAKE:
● The Judiciary Committee hearings further demonstrated that Brett Kavanaugh does not empathize with the crucial needs of working middle-class Americans or the unique concerns of racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBT community, women, or others who comprise our diverse nation.
● The fact that President Trump is now considered by many to be an unindicted co-conspirator to federal crimes is of grave concern. The Supreme Court will likely be called on to resolve issues related to the extent to which the President can be investigated, subpoenaed, indicted, orprosecuted, and Judge Kavanaugh’s longstanding advocacy for presidential immunity fromcriminal or civil liability raises grave concerns on his ability to be impartial in such matters.
● His record shows a willingness to allow law enforcement to use the repugnant an counter- productive tactic of “racial profiling,” an open hostility to the Affordable Care Act and access to health care for all Americans, as well as sensible measures to protect Americans from the growing crisis of gun violence.
● We have been blocked from access to a crucial amount of information about JudgeKavanaugh’s opinions in the administration of President George W. Bush. For the first time in history, the President has invoked “executive privilege” to withhold more than 101,000 documents on Judge Kavanaugh from review by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the full Senate, and the American people.
● This nomination is too important to rush. The country desperately needs a fair-minded and independent jurist on the Supreme Court, not a divisive and biased ideologue who will further shake the American people’s faith in our nation’s justice system.
● This nomination should only be fully vetted by the Senate elected by the American people in November, 2018, in the 116th Congress, when all of the facts are in and fully reviewed.
REMEMBER TO CONTACT BOTH YOUR SENATORS!
For more information about why we must take this action, or about contacting your Senators, please download and read the full Action Alert.