Seventy four people were arrested in Washington, DC last week for civil disobedience while protesting the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. The activists were led out of the Hart Senate Office Building with their fists in the air as they sang, “Hear the voices of the sons and daughters, protect our freedom now!”
Protests took place in all three Senate office buildings on Wednesday. Dozens of people crammed the hallways, preventing Republican Senators from meeting with Kavanaugh, including Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley of Iowa. The pre-scheduled meetings were eventually moved to the Capitol Building.
Outside of the Capitol, over 600 people gathered for a large rally to #StopKavanaugh organized by Alliance for Justice, the Center for American Progress, Demand Justice, People for the American Way, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and others. The rally featured Members of Congress and a number of activists, including Ady Barkan, co-director of Be A Hero, who is dying from ALS. Barkan, a fierce advocate for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), famously asked Senator Jeff Flake last year, during the battle to save the ACA, to be a hero and vote to protect the healthcare law from attempts to repeal it, which would have cut off access to care for millions of people, including those with pre-existing conditions (Senator Flake later voted to dismantle the ACA).
The fate of the ACA is in jeopardy once again, and the next Justice on the Supreme Court may provide the deciding vote on whether millions of people will able to access healthcare. Earlier this year, Texas and 19 other states filed a lawsuit in federal court to repeal the healthcare law. The case is making its way through the federal courts. and the Trump Administration, which filed a brief in the case, has taken the position that the ACA is unconstitutional and should be overturned. President Trump has also pledged to only appoint judges that would overturn both the ACA and Roe v. Wade.
At the rally, Members of Congress highlighted what’s at stake with Trump’s Supreme Court nomination. “This is a moral issue affecting America,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. “We will not rest until Brett Kavanaugh is defeated and the American people win.”
If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice, he would tip the balance of the Court, threatening rights for women, immigrants, workers, the environment, and our democracy for generations to come. Kavanaugh was chosen from a list of 25 jurists who were handpicked by the right wing Federalist Society. As an extreme conservative, Kavanaugh would rank nearly the same as Justice Clarence Thomas on the ideological spectrum.
Media Resources: People for the American Way 8/2/18; Truthdig 08/01/18; Five Thirty Eight 08/01/18; Be A Hero Campaign; The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Feminist Newswire 7/11/18; Washington Post 6/7/18