The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court is often described by liberal pundits and Democratic Party leaders as threatening to "restrict women's right to abortion" and "erode our civil rights and liberties." This is wildly underestimating the danger. Kavanaugh's outlook and legal positions are to a great degree in line with the Trump/Pence fascist regime and its campaign to "Make America White Again," and in particular with the Christian fascist hostility to women being treated as full human beings, and their objective of implementing Christian theocratic rule.
As the fifth pro-fascist vote on the nine-member Court, Kavanaugh would, if confirmed, tip the highest court in the land into a compliant tool of fascist transformation. For this reason, the fight to block Kavanaugh's confirmation--which to be meaningful has to be waged as part of driving the whole fascist regime from power--is one of life-or-death urgency for women and LGBTQ people; for black, brown, and other oppressed people; and for all who hope for a brighter future for humanity and for the planet we inhabit.
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On July 9, Donald Trump announced the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a longtime and committed fascist, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Four of the Court's nine justices are already reactionaries, and all of Trump's potential nominees have been vetted by right-wing legal experts to ensure their "reliability." So it was a certainty that whoever Trump picked would (if confirmed by the U.S. Senate) give the Court a pro-fascist majority that would profoundly alter the legal, social, and political landscape of the U.S.
For that reason, even before the announcement, there was widespread and heartfelt clamor from liberals and progressives for the Democratic Party to really throw down against confirmation, and to prevent Trump from putting anyone on the Court. There were calls for ongoing street protests; Michael Moore called for a million people to surround the Capitol building; others suggested that the Democrats could en masse boycott the Senate, preventing it from functioning. People sensed that this is an emergency and demanded that the people they currently look to for leadership act accordingly.
Instead, the Democrats initially responded with a "whaddya gonna do" shrug--Senator Dick Durbin rushed to say that there was basically no way to block Kavanaugh, and Senator Richard Blumenthal went so far as to say that "the Senate should do nothing to artificially delay the nomination"!
This elicited real anger from their base--that is, as Bob Avakian put it, the people the Democrats "try to appeal to--not that the Democrats represent their interests, but who are the people that the Democrats try to appeal to" (from BAsics 3:10). And the leadership quickly realized that they could lose their political grip on that base if they didn't at least go through the motions of trying to block the confirmation. A senior Democratic aide told The Intercept: "If we don't put up a fight, there's going to be hell to pay." So they went to "Plan B"--which mostly boils down to promising to ask "tough questions" during confirmation hearings, especially about Kavanaugh's views on Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion and that is right now hanging by a thread.
This is bullshit--it is a charade, like if the head of the National Rifle Association was nominated and the Democrats said they were going to ask "hard questions" about his position on gun control! Kavanaugh's reactionary views on abortion (and a whole range of other issues) are quite clear. Confirmation hearings are just an opportunity for him to spread confusion about this (including by lying about what he will do), calm down progressives, and provide cover for wavering senators to vote for him based on his "performance" at the hearings.
What is needed is not "tough questions" but furious rejection of the right of this illegitimate fascist regime to consolidate its grip on the judicial branch of government, and intense struggle not only to block this, but to drive out the whole regime.Who Is Brett Kavanaugh?
Behind the carefully tailored "aw shucks" humble pie bullshit and alleged concern for "diversity" and for women on display the night Trump announced his nomination, Kavanaugh is a hard-core fascist who doesn't just want to turn back the clock to the 1950s but in significant ways to the 1650s, before Europe's "Enlightenment" period.
In a September 2017 speech, Kavanaugh described how, as a Yale Law student in 1987, his "first judicial hero" was Chief Justice William Rehnquist. What did Kavanaugh admire about Rehnquist? First and foremost, that Rehnquist was one of two justices who dissented against Roe v. Wade, and that even after being defeated, Rehnquist battled to overturn Roe for decades.
It's worth looking at this carefully. Kavanaugh repeats Rehnquist's argument that abortion was an "unenumerated" right--that is, the Constitution does not explicitly grant it--and that the right to abortion is not "rooted into the traditions and conscience of our people." And therefore, it should not be added into or inferred from the Constitution.
In other words, because a woman's right to decide whether or when to have a child was not mentioned in the Constitution in 1789, and because it goes against the traditional values of "our people" (and really this means the conservative white Christians that the fascists look to as the "true" America), this right should not be recognized or enforced.
Here it is important to note that the legal basis for Roe v. Wade--which was that the Constitution has an implicit (i.e., not "enumerated") right to privacy, and that government interference in the personal medical decision of choosing an abortion would violate that right--is the same basic argument that was used to legalize birth control in 1965 (Griswold v. Connecticut). And birth control is every bit as much a target of the Christian fascists as abortion, because their real concern is not the "rights" of "unborn babies," but the enslavement of women by reducing them to bearers and rearers of children. So once Roe v. Wade falls, it is very likely that Griswold will be targeted and overturned by the same logic.
And think about what other rights would not pass muster with these criteria. Were gay rights "enumerated" in the Constitution, and are they supported by the conservative white Christians today? What about the rights of Muslims to practice their religion? The right of interracial marriage? The right of black people to live, work, or for that matter walk, where they want, free from racist discrimination? Rehnquist's--and Kavanaugh's--reasoning is legal justification for the fascist vision of "Making America White (and Christian) Again" and of slamming women back into "their place."