THE STAKES ARE INCREDIBLY HIGH:
The U.S. Supreme Court has always been crucial to the progress of African Americans. Our rights to fully participate in democracy and in every facet of social and economic life, on an equal basis, lie in the balance. Each term, the Court can decide important cases regarding voting rights, equal educational opportunity, workers’ rights, fair housing, women’s rights, access to health care, immigration, consumer rights, and the criminal justice system.
The NAACP has fought for fair and independent justices on the Supreme Court since its very beginning. In 1930, the NAACP opposed President Herbert Hoover’s nomination of Judge John Parker to the Supreme Court because he believed that African Americans had no role in our democracy. NAACP members around the country urged their Senators to oppose Parker and we testified before the Senate against him. His nomination was rejected by a vote of 39 to 41. The NAACP has stood guard over the Supreme Court ever since and has participated in every important Supreme Court confirmation battle to protect civil rights and equal justice.
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RETIREMENT OF JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY:
On June 27, 2018, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. The NAACP issued a statement: “Justice Kennedy played a pivotal role on the Supreme Court for thirty years. He was the deciding vote in many close cases involving civil rights and civil liberties. The stakes for nomination a replacement could not be higher at any moment in our history. The NAACP and its members are committed to protecting the gains won through the sacrifices of our ancestors and to protecting civil rights for generations to come.”
Immediately thereafter, the NAACP joined several civil rights organizations in demanding that the vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor be delayed until a new Senate is seated. “This is an extraordinary time in American history, which calls for extraordinary measures. The Senate is divided by a single vote. The need for a strong system of checks and balances has seldom been greater. During this time of escalating crises, citizens must have the opportunity to decide who will advise and consent to the nominee of a deeply divisive Chief Executive.”
The day after Justice Kennedy’s announcement, the NAACP held a Tele-Townhall with over 1000 participants to discuss the high stakes involved in replacing Justice Kennedy on the Court. While Justice Kennedy was reliably conservative, his vote was always in play. He voted to uphold consideration of race in college admissions. He wrote the opinion allowing housing discrimination to be challenged using the disparate impact method. He made a difference in criminal justice cases. He provided a critical fifth vote in cases securing equal treatment for the LGBTQ community. Without him, the courthouse door could close on justice for a generation.
TRUMP’S NOMINATION OF BRETT KAVANAUGH:
On July 9, Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The NAACP is very familiar with Brett Kavanaugh because we opposed his nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals 12 years ago. His terrible record as an appellate court judge has proven us correct. He has been a consistent voice for the wealthy and powerful and has ruled against civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer rights, and women’s rights. In our statement on the nomination, we warned that Judge Kavanaugh was a “dangerous ideologue, whose extreme views would solidify a far-right majority on the Supreme Court” and “remake the Court in President Trump’s own image.” We said that “the NAACP is ready to lead the fight of a generation.” We told each and every Senator: “This is THE civil rights vote of your career.”
On July 17, the NAACP joined over 100 civil rights and social justice organizations in strongly opposing the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. We wrote that he would “provide the fifth and decisive vote to undermine many of our core rights and legal protections.” We noted that, as an appellate judge, “he has served as a conservative ideologue who lacks the impartiality and independence necessary to sit on the highest court in the land.”
On July 23, the NAACP joined national civil rights organization to express collective concern regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. President Derrick Johnson stated: “With the Kavanaugh nomination, our democracy hangs in the balance. There is simply too much at stake to allow this dangerous nomination to move forward when the presidency itself is under investigation and the American people have not yet elected the Senate that must rigorously review this pivotal nomination. The vote on Kavanaugh is truly the civil rights vote of a generation; that is how long its impact will last.”
On August 16, NAACP joined several civil rights organizations to issue this statement.
After Donald Trump was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in Michael Cohen’s guilty plea on August 21, President Derrick Johnson called upon the Senate to halt the Kavanaugh confirmation process: “The Senate owes it to the American people to see how these legal proceedings play out before even considering whether to confirm a SCOTUS nominee selected by a President linked to federal crimes. This is especially true with a nominee like Brett Kavanaugh who believes that the President is immune from federal investigation.”
NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN TO #STOPKAVANAUGH:
NAACP national, state and local leadership are engaging members and allies across the country to stop the Kavanaugh nomination. We have sponsored and/or appeared in multiple forums around the nation, highlighting the stakes involved in the Kavanaugh nomination and generating the opposition needed to defeat the nomination in the Senate.
At the NAACP’s 109thAnnual Convention in San Antonio, Texas from July 12 through 18, the Supreme Court confirmation battle was front and center. President Derrick Johnson’s remarks at the opening plenary session addressed the Kavanaugh nomination. At the Federal Legislative and Public Policy Workshop, VP for Advocacy Hilary Shelton discussed strategy and tactics for defeating the Kavanaugh nomination.
President Derrick Johnson addressed the Kavanaugh confirmation fight during keynote remarks he delivered at the Southern Fair Courts convening in North Carolina on July 24.
Vice President for Advocacy Hilary Shelton participated in a Netroots Convention panel on the Kavanaugh nomination in New Orleans on August 3.
Judicial Nominations Advisor Leslie Proll participated on a Supreme Court nomination panel in Northern California on August 4, which included Equal Justice Society, Equal Rights Advocates, NARAL, and Indivisible.
On August 6—the 53th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act—the Alabama NAACP sponsored a forum on “Voting Rights, Midterm Elections and SCOTUS Nominee Brett Kavanaugh: What’s At Stake.” The event was held at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church across from the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama and was attended by over 100 persons. The event was hosted by Alabama NAACP President Bernard Simelton. Participating on the panel were former U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon, former U.S. Magistrate Judge Vanzetta McPherson, Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director Eva Kendrick, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice Executive Director Sarai Portillo, Social Justice Activist T. Marie King, and Student Activist Damion White.
The Anchorage, Alaska NAACP sponsored a Voting Rights Act anniversary event on August 6, “Celebrate the Voting Rights Act and Learn What’s at Stake in the Supreme Court Nomination.” It was well attended, was hosted by Anchorage NAACP President Kevin McGee, and featured the following speakers: Heather Kendall-Miller, Native American Rights Fund; Polly Carr, Executive Director, The Alaska Center; Elizabeth Medicine Crow, President, First Alaskans Institute; Jessica Cler, Public Affairs Manager, Planned Parenthood Vote Northwest; Casey Reynolds, Communications Director, ACLU of Alaska; Rev. Dr. Jill F. Bradway, Pastor, First American Baptist Church; Jasmine Smith, Small Business Owner; Marvin Jones, President, UNITE HERE, Local 878; Gordon Glaser, Member of Alaska Commission on Aging; and Vince Beltrami, President of Alaska AFL-CIO.
SEE NAACP MEDIA APPEARANCES TO #STOPKAVANAUGH:
On June 28, after Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, President Derrick Johnson appeared on MSNBC’s Velshi & Ruhle on “President Trump’s Supreme Court and Your Rights.”
On July 1, President Johnson appeared on Weekends with Alex Witt on July 1, “Anthony Kennedy’s Departure Could Potentially Affect Voting Rights.”
Immediately after Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, the NAACP was quoted in an Newsone article, “Twitter Reacts to the Horror of Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Brett Kavanaugh.”
On July 11, the NAACP was quoted by the Washington Post in “Civil Rights Organizations Are Worried About Brett Kavanaugh’s Potential Impact on Racial Issues.”
The Tennessee Tribune interviewed Derrick Johnson about the Supreme Court on July 12, in “Kavanaugh Threatens Civil Rights, Protects Trump from Mueller Investigation.”
Derrick Johnson appeared on Al Sharpton’s Politics Nation on July 22, to discuss how civil rights leaders are galvanizing to defeat the Kavanaugh nomination, “Supreme Fight.”
On August 4, Derrick Johnson published an op-ed for InsideSources.com about the threat posed by Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to affirmative action, “Now is Not the Time to Do Away with Affirmative Action.”
On August 9, President Johnson was interviewed by Rolling Stone about a number of issues, including the Supreme Court confirmation battle, “NAACP President Derrick Johnson Opens Up About Charlottesville and What’s Next.”
As the nation celebrated the 53rdanniversary of the Voting Rights Act in August, President Derrick Johnson authored an op-ed in The Hill, “On Voting Rights, We have Much More to Lose with Brett Kavanaugh.”
On July 10, NAACP Senior Advisor on Judicial Nominations Leslie Proll joined LeGaL, the Alliance for Justice, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Center on Lesbian Rights for a call about the civil rights stakes of the Kavanaugh nomination.
On July 12, NAACP Senior Advisor on Judicial Nominations Leslie Proll appeared on the radio show “The Critical Hour” to discuss to the civil rights implications of the Kavanaugh nomination.
The NAACP is encouraging state conferences and chapters around the country to use media to convey opposition to the Kavanaugh nomination. For example, Anchorage NAACP President Kevin McGee published a letter to the editor in the Anchorage Daily News, “Kavanaugh Nomination Threatens Alaskans Rights.”
On Twitter, follow @NAACP and @DerrickNAACP for breaking news and all important information on the campaign to #StopKavanaugh.
CALL TO ACTION TO #STOPKAVANAUGH:
The NAACP has initiated a 50-state strategy to defeat the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh. Everyone, everywhere should contact their Senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to vote NO. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a red or blue state. Every single Senator needs to hear from his or her constituents on the battle of a lifetime. Our civil rights for a generation are at stake.
The NAACP has issued several Action Alerts urging NAACP members to oppose the Kavanaugh nomination and to postpone the Senate’s consideration of the nomination.
June 28– The Senate Must Thoroughly Vet and Review Supreme Court Nominee
July 10– Oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s Nomination to Supreme Court
August 2– Tell Your Senators to Vote No on Brett Kavanaugh
August 17– The Senate Must Fully Review All of Kavanaugh’s Record
August 23- The Kavanaugh Nomination Must Be Postponed
PETITION TO #STOPKAVANAUGH:
The NAACP has a petition against the Kavanaugh nomination. Sign the petition now, and register your opposition.