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Six Civil Rights Leaders Unite to Raise Concerns over Kavanaugh's Nomination to Supreme Court

7/23/18

Read a pdf of our statement here.

Six Civil Rights Leaders Unite to Raise Concerns over Kavanaugh's Nomination to Supreme Court

Today, leaders of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF); National Urban League; National Action Network; Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; NAACP; and National Coalition for Black Civic Participation joined in expressing collective concern regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Kennedy’s retirement. Each said:

“For nearly 80 years, LDF has relied upon the highest court in the land to protect our most fundamental rights and to push our nation closer to fulfilling the promise of racial equality. Given the urgent need to maintain the integrity of the Supreme Court, the Senate cannot proceed in considering the President’s nominee to fill the current vacancy until the Special Counsel’s investigation has concluded and voters have had a chance to make their voices heard. In the meantime, the Senate must vigorously vet Judge Kavanaugh’s record to ensure he will uphold equal justice and the rule of law. LDF will continue to conduct our own thorough review, but we are deeply concerned by our initial findings, which reveal a troubling record in cases involving core civil rights and liberties. So many of the rights we hold most dear are on the line, and we cannot afford to rush this process,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF President and Director-Counsel.

“The nomination of a Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court is one of the most important and lasting decisions of a President’s legacy. Unfortunately, this President is shrouded in an investigation that shows no sign of stopping and as such should not have his nomination considered by the Senate until that investigation concludes. A decision that could impact American lives for generations to come simply cannot be made under the current political and partisan circus. There is far too much at stake to allow this investigation and the fallout from it to impact such a critical and impactful decision. The National Urban League is particularly troubled by Judge Kavanaugh’s record on cases involving racial and workforce discrimination. Seating a Supreme Court nominee with an obvious disdain for fundamental liberties will change American life as we know it. The National Urban League is urging the Senate to reject his nomination, as we firmly believe that, if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, it could take generations to undo the damage to our voting protections, civil rights, access to healthcare, environmental protections, consumer rights, women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigration rights… just to name a few. We will continue to push the Senate to use the judgement bestowed upon it by the Constitution to delay this vote until the cloud of the Mueller investigation dissipates,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League.

“This year’s Supreme Court term has underscored the impact that just one justice can have on the history of our nation. We at NAN are alarmed by President Trump’s decision to replace outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh – an ideologue who has proven time and again that, when presented with the opportunity, he will have no compunction rolling back workers’ rights, stripping health care from the country’s most vulnerable, or taking away a woman’s right to choose. Kavanaugh’s presence on the court will ensure the deck is stacked against the Black community in the numerous civil rights cases the court will face in the coming years and would deal a tremendous blow to a whole litany of basic human rights that ought to be supported and expanded in a 21st century democracy – not throttled at every turn. We’re calling on the Senate to use its authority and stop this attack on our country – and prevent a biased ideologue from running roughshod over the soul of our country for decades to come,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network.

“This administration’s hostility to the civil rights of our nation’s most vulnerable communities makes it all but inevitable that we will see an increase in Supreme Court cases concerning the constitution and federal civil rights laws in years to come. Americans deserve a Supreme Court that will prove to be a neutral, fair and impartial venue to resolve the grave controversies and crises that come before it. We condemn any attempt by this Congress to railroad this nomination. It is critical that the Senate conduct a meaningful and thorough examination of Judge Kavanaugh’s extensive record and voluminous paper trail amassed during his time at the White House and Justice Department,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“We believe it is vitally important that the U. S. Senate delay a hearing or vote on the Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination until after the November 2018 Election.  Too much is at stake for this nomination to be used to further a partisan agenda to roll back gains made over the past fifty years, including civil rights, worker’s rights, women’s right to control her own body, affirmative action, protecting the Affordable Care Act and more. Further, until the cloud of investigation that currently hangs over the Trump Administration has been sufficiently lifted, we cannot feel confident or safe that any appointments made are in the best interest of our nation or democracy,” said Melanie Campbell, President/CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable.

“Since 1930, when the NAACP opposed the confirmation of John Parker who believed African Americans had no role in the political process, we have fought to ensure that Supreme Court justices are committed to equal justice under law.  With the Kavanaugh nomination, our democracy hangs in the balance. Kavanaugh's demonstrated hostility toward voting rights means the Court will further restrict political participation for African Americans. That is unacceptable. There is simply too much at stake to allow this dangerous nomination to move forward when the presidency itself is under investigation and the American people have not yet elected the Senate that must rigorously review this pivotal nomination. The vote on Kavanaugh is truly the civil rights vote of a generation; that is how long its impact will last,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP.

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Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.