NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Pacific Northwest’s Democratic Senators speak out against Kavanaugh nomination

Although no Democratic Senator from the Pacific Northwest has had the opportunity to question Judge Kavanaugh or air their grievances regarding his nomination, they haven’t held back their criticism of the pick.

As the hearings go on, Senators Murray, Wyden, and Merkley have been active on Twitter criticizing Judge Kavanaugh as travesties continue to develop. Particularly with Senator Booker’s stand, Senator Merkley tweeted his support, saying:

“Thank you, Cory Booker, for taking a risk to show America where
Kavanaugh stands on issues. Stand up. Speak up.”

Senator Murray took this a step further as of recently, holding a press conference with women behind a banner reading “Stop Kavanaugh”.

She did not mince words.

SENATOR PATTY MURRAY: So we Democrats are going to keep standing up for patients with pre-existing conditions. We are going to keep fighting against Judge Kavanaugh and this sham process Republicans are using to hide the facts and try to jam him through. And I am confident that families across the country are going to be listening to what all of us say — and even more importantly, they are going to be watching what all of us do.

Senator Maria Cantwell hasn’t been as vocal in her opposition towards Kavanaugh’s nomination, but that changed today when she issued a statement saying she would oppose the nomination. (Cantwell previously said on Meet the Press saying that a vote for whoever Trump nominated could be a “career-ending” move.)

Said Senator Cantwell:

As a United States Senator, it is my responsibility to thoroughly review lifetime appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I take this responsibility to provide advice and consent very seriously. When [Donald] Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, I owed it to my constituents to review his full record.

After having done so, I oppose his confirmation.

In 2006, I voted against the confirmation of Mr. Kavanaugh to serve as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit because I had concerns his judicial philosophy might have been outside the mainstream. His record on the D.C. Circuit Court affirmed those concerns for me.

Since he was confirmed to serve on that court, Judge Kavanaugh refused to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, ruled against workers’ rights in favor of corporate interests, would have struck down protections under the Clean Air Act and efforts to fight climate change, dissented from a decision that allowed an undocumented minor held in government custody to exercise her right to access abortion care, ruled in favor of a restrictive voter identification law, supported expanded warrantless surveillance, and maintained that the FCC’s net neutrality rule was unconstitutional.

Additionally, in his hearing, Judge Kavanaugh would not answer whether he believes Roe v. Wade was rightly decided and failed to assure senators he would not erode its critical protections. And while he now claims Roe is settled law, his previous assertions while he worked at the Bush White House raise serious questions.

The U.S. Supreme Court also serves as an important check on presidential power. In his hearing, Judge Kavanaugh refused to say whether a president could pardon himself or respond to a subpoena. In the past, he has questioned whether a president can be criminally indicted while in office and argued that the president should be able to fire special counsels without cause. His views raise fundamental questions about whether he will uphold the Court’s role in our constitutional system of checks and balances at this critical time in our nation’s history.  No one is above the law – especially the president.

Cantwell, Wyden, Murray, and Merkley are all set to vote no on this nomination, but it’s important to encourage their fierce opposition to Kavanaugh by actively speaking out, especially with these new revelations coming by the minute.

Meanwhile, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski needs to be lobbied to vote no.

On some issues this nomination could affect — such as a woman’s fundamental right to make her own reproductive health decisions — our Senators have been vocal. However, other issues aren’t getting the same degree of attention.

As important as a women’s right to choose is, a Supreme Court with Kavanaugh on it could wipe away decades’ worth of important precedents, destroying or undermining hard won progress on additional fronts. Examples are LGBT rights, affirmative action/equity, and voting rights.

Washington and Oregon’s Senators have made their opposition to the Kavanaugh nomination clear. Their willingness to defend a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions is commendable. However, this shouldn’t prevent them from being more vocal and intersectional in their advocacy.

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