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WASHINGTON - MAY 22: District of Columbia Circut Court of Appeals nominee Brett Kavanaugh (L) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) hold a news conference in the Capitol May 22, 2006 in Washington, DC. Frist said that Kavanaugh deserves a straight up-or-down vote in the Senate. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


Democratic gubernatorial candidates on SCOTUS pick: Elect one of us

Following President Donald Trump‘s announcement Monday night that Brett Kavanaugh is his nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Democratic candidates for Florida Governor coalesced around one message: there’s a lot at stake in November.

Per The Associated Press: “The 53-year-old Kavanaugh is a longtime fixture of the Republican establishment. He has been a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington since 2006. He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during the investigation of President Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh also worked in the White House during George W. Bush’s presidency.”

Democratic candidates fear these GOP accolades and Kavanaugh’s resume of ruling to the right could mean the state is primed to start reversing course on issues ranging from abortion and health care to workers’ and LGBT rights.

They worry that these changes would be fast-tracked if another Republican Governor — either Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis — is elected to fill Rick Scott‘s current shoes.

Each responded as follows:

Gwen Graham

The lone woman in the race focused solely on the issue of abortion in her response to the nomination.

“Donald Trump has nominated another Supreme Court justice who does not believe women have the right to make our own health care decisions.

“If Brett Kavanaugh is appointed to the court, Roe v. Wade is gravely at risk of being overturned. Florida: this is not a drill. If Roe v. Wade is overturned and Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis are elected governor, women will lose our rights to make our own health care decisions.

“They would outlaw abortion within a year and appoint judges who will decimate Florida’s constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy.

“As governor, I will veto any legislation that limits a woman’s right to choose and I will appoint state Supreme Court justices who will uphold our right to make our own health care decisions.”

Andrew Gillum

The Tallahassee mayor, who’s backed by the progressive flank of the party, in his response feared that a Kavanaugh confirmation will disturb not just the status quo of abortion, but other issues as well. He also emphasized the need to halt Scott’s effort to “stack” the state Supreme Court before leaving office.

“With his pick of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has done everything in his power to push the Supreme Court into the world of ultra-conservatism.

“A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is at risk. Voting rights are at risk. Collective bargaining is at risk. Here in Florida, Rick Scott will try to stack our Supreme Court in his final hours in office.

“We must hold the line on the three impending Florida Supreme Court vacancies, and when I am Governor-elect, my administration will use every tool available to ensure Floridians have their voices heard in their justice system.”

Chris King

Like Gillum, King emphasized a wide range of issues that now “falls to the states.”

“In Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has picked a nominee who threatens to roll back the clock on America — and with few allies in Washington, this fight now falls to the states.

“We’ve got to elect bold, progressive leaders who will stand up to the political establishment and fight for civil rights, workers’ rights and women’s health care — no matter what Donald Trump and his nominee have to say about it.”

Philip Levine

The former Miami Beach mayor shied away from the conversation of electing a Democratic governor. Instead, he encouraged Senate Republicans — likely the moderate ones — to “complete a thorough vetting,” suggesting that he is confident that blocking the pick in the imminent Senate confirmation process isn’t too far-fetched a plan.

“It’s more imperative than ever that reasonable Republicans join Democrats to complete a thorough vetting.

“Too much legal precedent is at stake — from preserving Roe v. Wade to LGBT protections — we refuse to turn the clock back on the protections enshrined by a balanced court!”

(Image via Getty.)


Written By

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at

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