This week began the confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nomination to replace the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh has a history of ruling against abortion access and arguing that it should not be mandatory for contraception to be covered by health insurance. We are just one vote away from him being confirmed and this hearing has been particularly eventful, to say the least. Here’s some of the bigger happenings this week both inside and outside of the courtroom.
Inside The Courtroom
Protests in Court
Within minutes of the hearing beginning, protesters were yelling, chanting, and being escorted out of the hearing by the police. Comments from the pro-choice “protesters saying women are going to die” were trivialized by Senator Sasse referring to the protests as something that happens at “every hearing.” What definitely doesn’t happen at every hearing, however, is senators – including Kamala Harris, Richard Blumenthal, and Amy Klobuchar – also protesting the hearing by calling for its adjournment.
“Abortion-Inducing Drugs” & Leaked Files
In reference to a case he dissented on, Kavanaugh recounted the Priests for Life’s argument about their religious objection to “abortion inducing drugs.” This was a reference to contraception – which literally does not induce abortions. Kavanaugh’s views on reproductive rights were further questioned when documents – originally believed to be leaked but actually approved for the public – were released by Senator Cory Booker. In direct contrast to his statements less than a month ago that Roe v. Wade was settled law, one email that was released showed Kavanaugh stating that he was “not sure” if Roe v. Wade would be considered “settled law of the land” being that a “court can always overrule its precedent.”
Questions of Presidential Immunity
A recurring question for Kavanaugh during the hearing was how he would handle a sitting president being under investigation. This question was very applicable for the reason that Mueller’s Russia investigation is likely to lead to Trump’s indictment and has already lead to the indictments of four members of his campaign team. Kavanaugh said in 1998 that the President “can fire, at will, a prosecutor criminally investigating him” When asked about his comment during the hearing, Kavanaugh continued his style of not giving a straight answer, replying “I think all I can say, senator is that was my view in 1998.”
Outside The Courtroom
Vigils at the Hart Senate Atrium
Activists joined together each day to hold peaceful vigils in the Hart Senate atrium. Several participants of the vigils dressed in the scarlet-red capes from the Handmaid’s Tale as a warning of Kavanaugh’s threat to women’s rights. Senators who support these efforts came down to make statements and thank those who came for fighting for women’s reproductive rights. Participants shared personal stories why they are resisting the Supreme Court Justice nominee that could potentially overturn the landmark case that made abortion a constitutional right.
The days of action ended with a rally on the Capitol lawn in solidarity with the activists and organizations opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination. Activists brought signs, lead chants and speakers shared stories about why they are passionate in the fight for reproductive rights. Those at the rally were reminded by speakers that public sentiment is the best tool we as citizens have to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
As the Senate hearings come to an end, the fight is far from over. The committee is expected to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation on September 13 or September 20, depending on if Democrats are able to delay the final committee vote. Call your senators NOW and tell them to reject Brett Kavanaugh, before it’s too late!