Exactly one year after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Women’s March, Demand Justice, and the Center for Popular Democracy Action plan to mobilize women, survivors, and their members to hold the nation’s highest court accountable amid a slew of attacks on reproductive health and rights.
The action, to be held on October 6 in Washington, D.C., will seek to put pressure on congressional lawmakers as the Court’s landmark abortion rights case, Roe v. Wade, is in jeopardy. Advocates see the placement of Justice Kavanaugh, following on the heels of the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, on the Court as a direct threat to the constitutional right to abortion given their conservative records.
“We protested Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court last year because we knew that right-wing extremists would respond by pushing reckless anti-abortion laws. President Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail that Roe v. Wade would be overturned ‘automatically’ once he had his choice of justices on the Supreme Court,” Women’s March Chief Operating Officer Rachel Carmona said. “We won’t be silent while the GOP subverts the will of the people by cheating our democratic processes. Women are organizing like our lives depend on it, because they do.”
Katie O’Connor, senior counsel at Demand Justice, told Rewire.News that the organizations hoped to “tap into [the] energy” of the women who mobilized for the Women’s March in 2017 and protested Kavanaugh’s confirmation the following year. Now, the groups are inviting activists to take action and demand “that the Congress do better,” such as by more closely reviewing Kavanaugh’s record.
Marking the anniversary of Kavanaugh’s confirmation is important because “we really think of it as unfinished business,” O’Connor said.
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The announcement of the action comes after House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent a letter to the National Archive in early August requesting the records from Kavanaugh’s work in the George W. Bush administration.
“There’s a lot that the Senate never investigated last year and that the American public deserves to have investigated,” O’Connor said.
During Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, only a small fraction of the estimated 3.85 million total pages of documents pertaining to his time working in the White House were reviewed.
“While [Kavanaugh] was staff secretary to the George W. Bush administration, the so-called partial-birth abortion ban was passed,” O’Connor said. “Partial-birth abortion” is a term created by anti-choice activists referring to an uncommon method of abortion. “We have no idea what he worked on while he was there. We have no idea whether he was part of the administration’s decision to sign that bill.”
Answering those questions could make a difference at a critical time for abortion rights in the United States. “Depending on what we find in these documents, we can at least question his impartiality about abortion cases and potentially asked him to recuse himself,” O’Connor said.
“Kavanaugh was almost certainly put on this court to overturn Roe, as was Gorsuch,” she said. “That was President Trump’s campaign promise.” And both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch received support from anti-choice groups during the confirmation process.
“We have no reason to believe that he’s not going to do what everyone knows he was put there to do,” she said.