Refinery29: All 34 Official Nods For Brett Kavanaugh Were By Men. Here's What 34 Women Think.
By Natalie Gontcharova
On Monday, the White House sent reporters 34 testimonials in support of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's second nominee for the Supreme Court, all praising his “impeccable credentials” and “commitment to upholding the Constitution.”
All 34 were by male senators and representatives. None were by people of color.
If confirmed, Kavanaugh — who currently serves on the District of Columbia's U.S. Court of Appeals and is one of the authors of the infamous Starr Report — will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is slated to retire later this month.
While he's more likely to get confirmed than not, Democrats are not going down without a fight. Reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, workers' rights, and more are at stake. Reproductive-rights advocates are especially alarmed that last year, Kavanaugh sided with the Trump-Pence administration, saying it could continue to block a 17-year-old undocumented young woman from obtaining an abortion. In his dissent, Kavanaugh wrote that the court was giving a new right to “unlawful immigrant minors” to obtain an “immediate abortion on demand,” a phrase that is popular with the anti-choice movement.
Equally alarming to many was his argument that sitting presidents should be exempted from civil suits and criminal prosecution — a pretty obvious reason for the embattled administration to have picked him.
The White House continues to show that it doesn't want women to have a seat at the table when it comes to making decisions for the country. Among the 34 testimonials, it strangely didn't even acknowledge women from its own party who support Kavanaugh's nomination. By choosing all white men to speak on behalf of the entire country, the Trump administration is once again reaffirming its commitment to white, male supremacy (while paying only the faintest of lip service to women's empowerment).
Kavanaugh himself is the latest in a long line of white, male justices: Of the 113 Supreme Court justices in history, 107 have been white men. That means in the court's whole 228-year history, only 5.3% of the justices have been women or minorities.
Change will come one day. But for now, we followed the advice of Shirley Chisholm: They didn't give us a seat at the table, so we brought a folding chair. And since white men comprise a disproportionate number of voices in our government, we're going to make sure women's voices, voices of people of color, and LGBTQ voices are heard.
Ahead, 34 women — from all political affiliations — speak out about the Kavanaugh nomination.
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation Of America
“We oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and call on the Senate to do the same. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: With this nomination, the constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion in this country is on the line. We already know how Brett Kavanaugh would rule on Roe v. Wade, because the president told us so. We take Trump at his word that Brett Kavanaugh would overturn Roe v. Wade and get rid of the Affordable Care Act. The balance of the Supreme Court is at stake — we cannot allow it to be tilted against the constitutional right to access abortion. Generations of women, especially women of color, will be affected. And generations of people have grown up only knowing a country where they have the right to access safe, legal abortion. We cannot allow our children and grandchildren to have fewer rights than we do today.”
Ilyse Hogue, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America
“We can’t forget what America was like before Roe, and we know the reality today for so many women in so many states across the nation where our right to make the most fundamental decisions about our bodies, our families, and our lives has been all but eradicated. Kavanaugh would use the Court as a tool to doom all women to that fate. Ending Roe doesn’t end abortion; it simply means we have a country where abortion is illegal and women and doctors become criminals. Kavanaugh recently argued that a young woman, despite meeting all of Texas' burdensome requirements to get an abortion, should not be permitted to access essential healthcare. He has also been a longtime conservative activist working to elect anti-choice politicians. It is clear that he will be a reliable vote to end Roe v. Wade, criminalize abortion, and punish women.”
Kathryn Hahn, Actress & Comedian
In an exclusive video made by Kathryn Hahn for Planned Parenthood, Hahn addressed what Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court could mean for reproductive rights. “If confirmed, Kavanaugh could tip the balance of the Supreme Court against our health, our rights, and our communities for decades to come,” Hahn says. “You need to make your voice heard. Call your senator and tell them to reject Brett Kavanaugh's nomination.”
Nancy Northup, President & CEO, Center For Reproductive Rights
“President Trump has vowed to nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court only justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. In addition to this litmus test, he has also said women who have abortions should be punished. Today, with the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, the President is presumably making good on his Roe-reversal promise. Every Senator should assume that is the case, absent a clear and compelling statement from the nominee that he agrees with the rationale and premise of Roe v. Wade — that the right to abortion is among the Constitution’s guaranteed personal liberty rights.”
Stephanie Schriock, President, EMILYs List
“Whether he's attempting to defund Planned Parenthood, reinstating the global gag rule, rolling back the contraception mandate, or appointing a wave of anti-choice judges to lifetime appointments, Trump has made it clear that he keeps his promises to slash women's rights and access to healthcare. Any nominee — including Kavanaugh, handpicked by right-wing groups for his views on abortion rights, among other issues — who supports overturning Roeor placing even further restrictions on women's access to reproductive healthcare is unfit to serve the American people; full stop.”
Rachel Fleischer, Executive Director, Young Invincibles
“Choosing Judge Kavanaugh means that young people could spend most of their lives with a Justice on the Supreme Court named by an administration that expects devotion to a set of devastating priorities that will take this country backwards. Young people know what’s at stake with this nomination and the Senate should listen closely to the generation who stands to be most harmed by this potential Supreme Court Justice.”
Heidi Hess, Co-Director, CREDO Action
“If Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Shelley Moore Capito actually support women's right to make their own choices about reproductive healthcare, they'll oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation. If Sens. Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Doug Jones, and Joe Donnelly truly share the broad set of values that have defined the Democratic Party for decades, they will proudly vote to reject Kavanaugh's confirmation. And if Sen. Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is an even remotely competent leader, he will use every tool at his disposal to keep Senate Democrats fully unified in opposition.”
Fatima Goss Graves, President & CEO, National Women’s Law Center
“It’s clear Judge Kavanaugh is dangerous for women. He has voted against women’s constitutional rights, including approving the Trump administration blocking a young immigrant woman from obtaining an abortion. This appalling opinion was Kavanaugh’s audition for the Supreme Court. After showing his hostility to abortion, he was added to Trump's shortlist.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
“We all know what’s at stake with Kavanaugh’s nomination: the freedom for women to make our own choices. Equal rights. Civil rights. All of the values we hold most dear. Stopping this will take all of us, fighting as hard as we can, raising our voices again and again.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
“Two decades after Brown v. Board, I was only the second class to integrate at Berkeley public schools. Without that decision, I likely would not have become a lawyer and eventually be elected a Senator from California. That’s the power a Supreme Court Justice holds.
“Whether or not the Supreme Court enforces the spirit of the words 'Equal Justice Under Law,' is determined by the individuals who sit on that Court. Brett Kavanaugh represents a fundamental threat to that promise of equality. I will oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic Candidate For U.S. Rep, NY-14
“The fact that #ScotusPick Kavanaugh believes that a President cannot be indicted is an automatic disqualification from Supreme Court consideration. Plain and simple.”
Sen. Heidi Heitcamp (D-ND)
“I have no doubt that many members of Congress and outside groups will announce how they stand on the nominee before doing their due diligence and instead just take a partisan stance — but that isn't how I work. An exhaustive and fair process took place for Justice Gorsuch, who I supported, and it should and must take place again now.”
Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House Democratic Leader
“Donald Trump is using this nomination as a destructive tool on a generation of progress for workers, women, LGBTQ people, communities of color and families, and to radically reverse the course of American justice and democracy. #WhatsAtStake #StopKavanaugh”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
“Brett Kavanaugh's record as a judge and lawyer is clear: hostile to healthcare for millions, opposed to the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] and corporate accountability, thinks presidents like Trump are above the law — and conservatives are confident that he would overturn Roe v. Wade. I'll be voting no.”
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)
“Brett Kavanaugh is a threat to affirmative action, women’s reproductive rights, affordable healthcare, unions, consumer protections, and civil rights for generations to come. The ONLY thing he is NOT a threat to is Trump’s defense from the Mueller investigation.”
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
“It's the 150th birthday of the 14th amendment. No better way to celebrate Brown v. Board, Loving v. Virginia, and Baker v. Carr than speaking out to #StopKavanaugh #WhatsAtStake”
Cecile Richards, Activist, Author, Former President Of Planned Parenthood
“Abortion existed before Roe and it was simply illegal and unsafe and young, healthy women died routinely in emergency rooms across this country and that's what we're looking at again if this court tips to the other side.”
Gabby Giffords, Politician, Founder Of The Giffords Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence
“Should the Senate confirm the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, we have every indication to believe that he will prioritize an agenda backed by the gun lobby, putting corporate interests before public safety.”
Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association
“This nomination is a rubber stamp of the Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos agenda. He has praised rulings that justify allowing public money to be funneled into religious institutions and predicted a future Supreme Court would uphold vouchers to private religious schools. #StopKavanaugh”
Deb Haaland, Democratic Candidate For U.S. Rep, NM-1
“Women, people of color, and so many other marginalized communities deserve a strong voice, not someone who has the power to destroy critical wins on women's reproductive rights, healthcare, marriage equality, unions, and civil rights at the drop of a hat.
“The Supreme Court vacancy is the most consequential in our lifetime, but this nominee is from an A-list of extremists, out of touch with reality.
“I hear the anger from voters every single day. Nobody wants more laws that make it more difficult for families to live, to eat, to find healthcare, or to simply love. Nobody wants to see children separated from their parents or people barred from traveling to our country.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
“To no one's surprise, Trump nominated a hardline conservative justice who will endanger Roe v. Wade, threaten to gut the Affordable Care Act, and infringe on voting rights. I don’t believe he is able to defend justice for all people and I wholly oppose this nomination.”
Brittany Packnett, Activist & Educator
“Resist the voices who tell you there is 'no point' in challenging this #SCOTUS nomination because they’ve done the math and run the plays. We don’t need more commentators. We need more ACTION. Call the Senate. Call your senators. Call the committee. Start at (202) 224-3121.”
Rachel Tiven, CEO, Lambda Legal
“Lambda Legal's Fair Courts Project undertook a comprehensive review of Kavanaugh's judicial record. We considered hundreds of opinions authored or co-authored by Judge Kavanaugh in the D.C. Circuit and analyzed other decisions in which he participated involving LGBTQ parties, employment discrimination, reproductive rights, voting rights, criminal justice, rights of detainees, fair courts, or constitutional rights of equal protection, liberty, free speech, or religious exercise. … Kavanaugh must not be confirmed.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund
“I missed everything Judge Kavanaugh said after he said that no other president has consulted with a broader range of people in making the choice of a SCOTUS nominee.”
Vanita Gupta, President & CEO, Leadership Conference On Civil & Human Rights
“We must remember that access to affordable, quality healthcare is a fundamental civil and human right. The fight to #SaveSCOTUS is a fight to save healthcare, a civil rights fight, and a fight to save the soul of our nation. #WhatsAtStake”
Leslie Proll, Civil Rights Lawyer
“Brett Kavanaugh was evaluated three different times by [the American Bar Association] in connection with his nomination to D.C. Circuit. ABA downgraded its rating with majority concluding he didn’t meet highest standard. Lawyers familiar with his work questioned his impartiality and fairness. They were right.”
Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center For Transgender Equality
“Trans people will not go back to being a pre-existing condition!”
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
“Judge Kavanaugh has already been vetted by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation — two far-right organizations whose goals include repealing the Affordable Care Act and attacking women's health. Proud to stand with @JudiciaryDems to lay out #WhatsAtStake.”
Lauren Underwood, Democratic Candidate For U.S. Rep, IL-14
“We need a strong Congress to represent the voice of the people — 72% of whom support Roe v. Wade — against biased judges who might gut our reproductive rights. If you care about these rights as well as voting rights, workers' rights, and more, vote this November. #KavanaughSCOTUS”
Erin Hawley, Legal Fellow, Independent Women’s Forum
“By nominating D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has fulfilled his pledge to put forward a judge who has demonstrated his commitment to the Constitution. Judge Kavanaugh believes in judicial humility and the separation of powers. He has been a staunch defender of religious liberty and believes that the role of federal judges is limited to interpreting and applying federal law and the Constitution, and that it is up to the people, through their representatives, to make the law. The Senate should work quickly to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
Catherine Glenn Foster, President & CEO, Americans United For Life
“Americans United for Life congratulates Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Based on his strong, 12-year record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, we believe that Judge Kavanaugh will be an originalist Justice, committed to the text of the Constitution and to the rule of law, including legal protections for human life. This is a seminal moment for America. It’s a crucial chance to shift the Court back to a majority that does not look to Roe and Casey — two of the worst examples of judicial activism — as their legacy. We urge the Senate to confirm Judge Kavanaugh swiftly so that he can begin serving our nation by the start of the Supreme Court’s next term in October.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
“While I have not met Judge Kavanaugh, I look forward to sitting down for a personal meeting with him. I intend to review Judge Kavanaugh’s decisions on the bench and writings off the bench, and pay careful attention to his responses to questions posed by my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Judiciary will also review Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications prior to these hearings and issue a rating. I intend to carefully consider that rating, the information obtained through personal meetings, my own review of Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications and record, and the views of Alaskans in determining whether or not to support him.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
“Judge Kavanaugh has impressive credentials and extensive experience, having served more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“I will conduct a careful, thorough vetting of the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court, as I have done with the five previous Supreme Court Justices whom I have considered. I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee and to questioning him in a meeting in my office.”
Lila Rose, Founder & President, Live Action
“While the Supreme Court will hear many cases, we look forward to the day when our nation’s highest court acknowledges the great injustice of abortion and finally upholds the right to life for all humans, born and unborn. We hope that with Brett Kavanaugh, the court ensures that our very first right, the right to life, will be protected by our laws rather than trampled by them.”