With the tapping of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the President is priming the high court to walk back values that transcend party lines, according to one progressive-minded organization in Florida.
“President [Donald] Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court should concern every Floridian,” said Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo on behalf of the Florida Why Courts Matter Coalition. Progress Florida describes itself as an advocate “for progressive, pro-middle class policies and holds our elected officials accountable by empowering citizens in their communities,” according to its website.
“We’re fighting for social justice, economic fairness, strengthening public education, health care reform, environmental protection, and much more.”
But the group views Kavanaugh as an affront to Americans who don’t consider their views progressive. It fears that Kavanaugh could reverse the status quo on a wide range of judicial interpretations on policies — health care, consumer protections, voting rights, environmental protections, LGBT equality, and criminal justice reform — that are held near and dear to Americans on both sides of the political spectrum.
Prior to Trump announcing the nominee Monday night, it was widely reported that Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman were among Kavanaugh as possible picks. In an interview with Florida Politics, Progress Florida Communications Director Damien Filer said Kavanaugh is a nominee who is expected to go against the grain of “mainstream America.”
Instead of replacing retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy with another “swing vote,” Trump selected a much more conservative justice who will act as a “rubber stamp” for polarizing policies, Filer said.
“We have fundamentally shifted the balance of the court,” explained Filer.
“He’s staunchly opposed to the [Affordable Care Act],” Filer said. “The ACA is something that not just progressives depend upon for health insurance.”
Filer interpreted the Monday night prime-time announcement as a method of softening the blow. He said that Trump and Kavanaugh were “trying to paint a picture of someone who will be palatable to mainstream America despite his record.” In his speech, Kavanaugh gestured to his wife and two daughters and pointed to his selection of mostly-female judicial clerks as evidence he was in tune with women’s concerns and issues. His “remarks were fittingly political,” Filer said.
Filer guessed the American electorate would prefer another pick like former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan.
“I think we’re in a very different place than we were when Neil Gorsuch was nominated,” added Filer.
Kavanaugh’s appointment is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.