Tonight President Trump announced he is nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the United States Supreme Court.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which litigates in federal and state courts on behalf of the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV, issued the following statement from its executive director Janson Wu:

Any justice confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court must be committed to hearing arguments fairly and with an open mind from all Americans – not simply the wealthy few – and to preserving foundational constitutional principles of equal protection, due process, and liberty.

We urge Senators to take extremely seriously their duty to ensure a nominee is not pushed through to a seat on our nation’s highest court who does not support or cannot demonstrate through word and deed a clear dedication to upholding our constitutional guarantees of equality for all.

We have severe concerns about Judge Kavanaugh’s ability to meet this standard, and reason to fear his nomination is based on predetermined ideology, not a commitment to justice. As a candidate, the President pledged he would only nominate judges who would

  • overturn Roe v. Wade – a ruling viewed by the majority of Americans as settled law. A decision overturning Roe would not only make abortion illegal in many states, but could undermine legal precedents supporting the individual right to raise children, have consensual adult sex, use contraception, and marry – without the government telling you what you can and cannot do. 
  • rule against the Affordable Care Act – which has provided basic health care coverage to millions of Americans who need it – upending the Court’s prior ruling upholding the constitutionality of the law.

It is the responsibility of the United States Senate to vet in exacting detail anyone who aspires to sit on our nation’s highest court which is the final decider on so many crucial issues, with no further appeal. With so much at stake, we urge the Senate not to rush forward a confirmation process. But should Judge Kavanaugh reach that process, our Senators cannot rely on vague promises about precedent and settled law, but must press Judge Kavanaugh for specific answers to tough questions, including the nominee’s opinions on well-established cases and foundational principles in constitutional law.

This is a perilous moment in our nation for all of us, especially the most vulnerable, who rely on the Court’s constitutional role to safeguard our rights and protect our liberties. The list of critical issues likely to be brought before the Court in coming years should motivate each of us:  attempts to gut health care access and reproductive rights; further attacks on affirmative action and civil rights; whether voting rights are protected and our electoral system lives up to our democratic ideals; efforts to carve out new exemptions to anti-discrimination laws; attacks on the rights of transgender students; efforts to render the marriages of same-sex couples unequal and to scale back the equal citizenship of LGBTQ people; decisions that will determine how and whether we preserve our planet; whether we will continue to be a nation that welcomes immigrants and refugees; how far we will tolerate the stretch of corporate influence; as well as sobering questions about the reach of the President’s power – to name but a few. 

It is incumbent upon every one of us to be engaged, to hold our Senators to account, and to ensure that our Constitution’s promise and the integrity of our highest court are upheld.