At Judiciary Hearing, Harris Speaks out Against Judge Kavanaugh Nomination

July 11, 2018 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris spoke out against Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States and highlighted the threat Kavanaugh poses to American’s access to healthcare. In her remarks, Harris noted Kavanaugh’s history of criticizing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, as well as Kavanaugh’s suppression of a woman’s health care rights in a 2017 ruling that was ultimately overturned. Harris also noted that Kavanaugh’s history as a federal judge does not indicate he will advance the Court’s guiding principle of “Equal Justice Under The Law.” (Video of Harris’ Remarks)

Kamala D. Harris

Key Points from Harris’ Remarks:

  • “The work of the Supreme Court has a profound impact on the rights and lives of all Americans, as we know. When at its best, it has advanced the meaning of those words above its doors, ‘Equal Justice Under The Law.’ At its worst, the Supreme Court has equated corporations with people, enabled voter suppression, and upheld racial segregation.”
  • “During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump made clear that he had a litmus test for Supreme Court Justices—overturn Roe v. Wade and oppose a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to make her own health care decisions. The President then released a list of nominees created by the highly conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, who had been vetted to meet that litmus test. Judge Kavanaugh has consistently proven to be a conservative ideologue instead of a mainstream jurist.”
  • “As recently as last year, Judge Kavanaugh disregarded the Supreme Court precedent and opposed the health care rights of a vulnerable young woman. Fortunately, that ruling was overturned by a sitting of all the judges of his court. In 2012, Chief Justice Roberts authored an opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act and held that the individual mandate was constitutional. However, in a recent speech to the Heritage Foundation in 2017, Judge Kavanaugh criticized Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion. Additionally in 2012, in a speech at the Federalist Society’s national convention, Judge Kavanaugh described the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act as “unprecedented.” This is not someone who believes that the Affordable Care Act should stand.”

Full remarks as delivered by Harris:

Today’s hearing is on four judicial nominations – one for the Ninth Circuit and three district court judges. There is also a nominee for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

I will note that the ABA has not yet returned ratings for two of the district court nominees: John O’Connor and Joshua Wolson. The ABA rating of course provides valuable insight, and we should not have moved forward, I believe, with Mr. O’Connor’s and Mr. Wolson’s nomination and their hearing until after we have received their ratings so as to conduct a complete evaluation of these nominees.

This is, of course, and as you have mentioned, Mr. Chair, the first nomination hearing since the President’s announcement on Tuesday to nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court.

The work of the Supreme Court has a profound impact on the rights and lives of all Americans, as we know.

When at its best, it has advanced the meaning of those words above its doors, ‘Equal Justice Under The Law.’

At its worst, the Supreme Court has equated corporations with people, enabled voter suppression, and upheld racial segregation. Whether or not the Supreme Court enforces the spirit of those words, ‘Equal Justice Under The Law,’ is determined by the individuals who sit on that Court.

As I stated on Monday night, Judge Kavanaugh represents a direct, I believe, and fundamental issue in terms of being able to evaluate and fulfill the promise of equality – and I will oppose his nomination.

In particular, Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to the right of women to make their own health care decisions and is a threat to the Affordable Care Act which protects 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and extended health coverage to 20 million Americans.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump made clear that he had a litmus test for Supreme Court Justices—overturn Roe v. Wade and oppose a woman’s constitutionally-protected right to make her own health care decisions.

The President then released a list of nominees created by the highly conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, who had been vetted to meet that litmus test.

Judge Kavanaugh has consistently proven to be a conservative ideologue instead of a mainstream jurist. We have asked that the President would consult with Democrats to come up with a list of mainstream jurists who could be nominated to the United States Supreme Court and unfortunately, that did not happen.

As recently as last year, Judge Kavanaugh disregarded the Supreme Court precedent and opposed the health care rights of a vulnerable young woman. Fortunately, that ruling was overturned by a sitting of all the judges of his court.

In 2012, Chief Justice Roberts authored an opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act and held that the individual mandate was constitutional. However, in a recent speech to the Heritage Foundation in 2017, Judge Kavanaugh criticized Chief Justice Roberts’s opinion.

Additionally in 2012, in a speech at the Federalist Society’s national convention, Judge Kavanaugh described the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act as “unprecedented.” This is not someone who believes that the Affordable Care Act should stand.

I cannot emphasize enough just how critical this next Supreme Court vacancy will be. And I will continue to make the case why Judge Kavanaugh is not the kind of justice that will advance the principle of “Equal Justice Under The Law” and should not be the one to fill this vacancy.

I look forward to hearing from today’s nominees and I yield the floor. 

Source: U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris
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