LGBTQ advocacy groups have sent a letter to the Senate opposing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
A total of 73 national, state, and local organizations signed onto the letter, including Lambda Legal, HRC, AIDS United, The Trevor Project, and GLAAD, citing concern that “his views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with securing equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law for all people, including LGBT people and people living with HIV.”
“Every Supreme Court vacancy is significant, but the stakes for the LGBT community could not be higher in deciding who will replace Justice Kennedy—who served as the deciding vote in numerous landmark decisions affecting LGBT people. It is not an exaggeration to say that key protections that enable LGBT individuals to participate as equal members of our society are at stake,” the letter continues.
“Judge Kavanaugh has not served as a neutral and fair-minded jurist. He has instead been a narrow-minded ideologue who cannot be trusted with the grave responsibility of administering impartial and equal justice under the law.”
While the groups say they had a number of issues with the nominee, they stress five particular areas of concern relevant to the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV:
(1) We are deeply concerned about Judge Kavanaugh’s philosophy regarding fundamental rights. Judge Kavanaugh believes that unenumerated fundamental rights must be tethered narrowly to “tradition,” an approach that inherently favors those who historically have enjoyed power and privilege and that would erode or eliminate significant protections for LGBT people.
(2) We have serious concerns that Judge Kavanaugh would support a novel and radical approach to religious freedom, discarding the longstanding doctrinal framework that has rejected attempts to invoke religious liberty to justify violations of antidiscrimination laws. Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated that he is willing to provide a sweeping license to discriminate to religious adherents at the expense of LGBT civil rights protections.
(3) We are deeply concerned that Judge Kavanaugh would gut critical health care protections—including protections against being denied health coverage for preexisting conditions, which would gravely threaten the health of people living with HIV and transgender people, among other vulnerable groups.
(4) We are deeply concerned by Judge Kavanaugh’s extreme views about the limits of executive privilege and the proper amount of deference owed to the President.
(5) Because LGBT people and people living with HIV live in poverty at disproportionately high rates, we are deeply concerned that Judge Kavanaugh’s propensity for supporting the interests of the rich and powerful will harm the economic well-being of our and other economically vulnerable communities.
The letter also argues his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was disqualifying.
“During his hearing, Judge Kavanaugh readily agreed that firing someone because of their race would be morally wrong but refused similarly to agree that firing someone because they are gay would be immoral,” it reads. “Judge Kavanaugh also refused to respond to questions asking whether he believes Obergefell v. Hodges was correctly decided.”
“Finally, Judge Kavanaugh demonstrated clearly that he does not have the proper judicial temperament or ability to administer fair and impartial justice to all litigants that come before him. His unprofessionally hostile, confrontational and partisan testimony, as well as attacks on members of the Committee, made clear that he is unfit to serve on the federal bench, much less on the highest court in the country.”