NC Progressives Blast Trump's Pick for US Supreme Court

Judge Brett Kavanaugh
U.S. Appellate Judge Brett Kavanaugh


As expected, Pres. Donald Trump’s nominee Monday to replace the outgoing Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, U.S. Appellate Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 53, of the D.C. Circuit, was controversial even before his name was confirmed in White House East Room.

The Republican National Committee praised the conservative jurist, saying in a statement shortly after the announcement, “President Trump nominated a strong defender of the Constitution and champion of the rule of law to the Supreme Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh has proven his commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans through a distinguished career on the D.C. Circuit and his lasting service to our nation.”

The GOP statement concluded, “Judge Kavanaugh is the best choice to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy and Senate Democrats must put partisan politics aside and vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court."

Even Project 21, a Black conservative group, hailed Judge Kavanaugh.

"This is a judicial grand slam! As someone familiar with Judge Kavanaugh's record, I can say that – though the left may be upset – those who love our Constitution will be thrilled," said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law at George Mason University and senior counsel to congressional leadership.

At least one of North Carolina’s two Black congress people, however, was not impressed.

“The nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a complete non-starter,” blasted Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1). “In nominating Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has selected someone with views well outside the mainstream. Given the cases the Court will weigh in on in coming years, the integrity of the Supreme Court and the lives of millions of Americans will be directly impacted by this pick. I have deep concerns about Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, and I will remain actively engaged in the Senate’s confirmation process.”

Attorney Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham says Kavanaugh, who has sided with the National Rifle Association in various opinions, and has a political history in Republican administrations, is exactly who Trump needed to keep the High Court’s conservative majority in control for the next generation.

“Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a solid right-wing conservative judge who has had a long tenure on the appellate court and a history of conservative interpretations of the Constitution and federal laws,” Prof. Joyner, who is also chair of the NCNAACP’s Legal Redress Committee, said. “It will be difficult to find flaws in his credentials, but his judicial philosophy is horrible for African Americans, other racial minorities, poor people, women and the progressive agenda.”

“Many of the hard fought and won civil rights cases and the racial progress, gender equality and equal protections that many people have thought to be cemented in the law are now in jeopardy. The religious right wing and other ultra conservative forces should be overjoyed with this pick, but, if confirmed, future decisions by Judge Kavanaugh will be bad for our communities,” Joyner continued.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also weighed in. “Judge Kavanaugh should not be allowed anywhere near our nation’s highest bench, he said in a statement. “Let’s be clear: a vote for Kavanaugh would be a vote to rip health care from American families and deny women their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions.”

"We know exactly why Kavanaugh was chosen,” Perez continued. “President Trump himself said that overturning Roe v. Wade and gutting the Affordable Care Act would be litmus tests for his Supreme Court nominee, and Kavanaugh fits the script.”

Prof. Joyner of NCCU School of Law urged Senate Democrats, and grassroots progressive groups, to mount a fierce battle against Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“This appointment should be vigorously resisted, but even if it is defeated, those who wait in the dugout for further appointments from this ultra conservative mindset will pose the same dangers as Judge Kavanaugh,” Joyner said. “With the choices that Trump collected for himself, they were all equally antagonistic to civil rights, racial justice and the development and growth of a level and progressive playing field for all people.”