President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appears to be poised for an uphill battle toward confirmation in the Senate, as Democrats from New York and across the nation have vowed an all-out fight.
Kavanaugh, a conservative judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was nominated by Trump during a news conference on Monday.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Kavanaugh, 53, would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. While Kennedy, 81, has long been considered a conservative justice, he has joined the liberal justices on several key rulings regarding divisive social issues such as abortion and gay rights.
Kavanaugh’s appointment would not technically change the 5-4 ideological breakdown of the nine-member high court, but Democrats fear future Supreme Court action that could end protections under the Affordable Care Act as well as overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate. While Democrats cannot stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation if no Republicans break ranks, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he would oppose the nomination “with everything that I’ve got.”
Here’s what else Schumer and other New York politicians are saying about Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Schumer: “I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same. The stakes are simply too high for anything less.” Read the senator’s full statement on the Senate Democrats’ website.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: “At this moment, we should have no doubt: women’s rights, civil rights, and equal rights are at stake. Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court must be rejected by the Senate.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo: “As a member of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh would deliver a devastating blow to American values. Kavanaugh is an extreme conservative with a clear partisan record. He would put our rights and democratic priorities in jeopardy, including the Affordable Care Act, protections for the environment, organized labor, LGBTQ rights and the protections of Roe v. Wade.”
The governor signed an executive order on the day of Kavanaugh’s nomination that protects access to contraceptives in New York. He also called on the state Senate to pass a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade protections in New York.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: The mayor called on Democrats to rally around the idea of stalling Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote until after the midterm elections in November, when the party has an opportunity to take control of the chamber.
“I think it’s a dangerous situation because it’s clear that Mr. Kavanaugh has been part of the ongoing Republican effort to fundamentally change how this country is governed and to favor corporate interests to reduce government regulation, to reduce the rights of working people, to undermine the rights of women. There’s a lot in what he has said and what he has written that’s very troubling. And to say the least, that I think there’s need to be a very careful examination of whether there was any quid pro quo with the president on avoiding any kind of prosecution of the president.”
State Attorney General Barbara Underwood: “It appears that President Trump’s nominee has been chosen for his potential to move us backwards, upending decades of protections for women, racial minorities, LGBTQ Americans, workers, and other marginalized groups, and the fundamental principle of equal justice under the law.”
State Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn): “Judge Kavanaugh is an eminently qualified jurist who will, I hope and expect, receive support from both Republicans and Democrats in the US Senate. A foundational hallmark of American democracy is our independent judiciary, and #BrettKavanaugh will be a credit to the #SCOTUS.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan): Maloney joined a host of elected officials and women’s organizations for a protest over Kavanaugh’s nomination in Foley Square on Tuesday. “We need a court that will respect precedent. We will not allow the president to use the Supreme Court to drive our country backwards and set progress back decades. If Merrick Garland could not be given a confirmation hearing because of the 2016 election, Brett Kavanaugh must be held to the same standard now that the midterm elections are fast approaching. The American people deserve a voice.”