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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