Statement of Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn
With President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and with so much at stake for future generations, the Senate must focus on core principles of democracy as it decides whether to give its consent to this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
As the third branch of our government, Americans expect the judiciary to uphold equal justice under law. The Constitution places the ultimate power in our democracy with the people who, through amendments, have written our voices generation after generation, into an ever-expanding vision of our democracy. American democracy has historically been a beacon of freedom to the world because we have steadily expanded who has a say in the future we create together, extending democracy’s freedom, liberty, and each individual’s pursuit of happiness to more people.
Americans’ trust in the Court, as with other civic institutions, has suffered as a five-justice majority empowered corporations to spend unlimited amounts of their funds to influence elections in Citizens United, gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, and just last month undermined the collective voices of working families when it overturned decades of well-settled labor law in Janus. These decisions collectively shift power away from the people toward wealthy special interests.
In this moment, the people need to know, and the Senate must press Judge Kavanaugh, on his values, approach to judging, and vision. Among many critical questions, senators should ask:
- Can Judge Kavanaugh reassure Americans that they can fairly sit in judgment of President Trump — a subject of ongoing criminal investigations — and apply the rule that no person is above the law?
- Has Judge Kavanaugh pledged a loyalty oath to President Trump?
- What is Judge Kavanaugh’s definition of originalism, and does he identify as an “originalist”?
- What is Judge Kavanaugh’s view of political equality as a constitutional principle?
- What is Judge Kavanaugh’s view of the Supreme Court as a check and balance in our constitutional system?
- Did the Supreme Court comport appropriately with the doctrine of stare decisis in Citizens United, Shelby County, and Janus?
- If confirmed, will Judge Kavanaugh comply with the Code of Conduct for United States Judges?
- What is Judge Kavanaugh’s view of the president’s decision to outsource judicial vetting to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, and why did his name appear on the list of nominees?
There is no facet of American society that is unaffected by the Supreme Court. Americans deserve to know how Judge Kavanaugh will uphold his obligation to deliver equal justice for all. Common Cause will research the nominee’s record on matters of democracy and press senators to do their job and elicit honest answers before voting to approve a lifetime seat.