On August 14, Maine state and local officials, in partnership with People For the American Way, held a telebriefing for members of the media on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Maine State Senator Justin Chenette, City of Belfast Mayor Samantha Paradis, and Portland City Councilmember Spencer Thibodeau each spoke about Kavanaugh’s dangerous record on health care, women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights and the lasting damage he would create if confirmed. Chenette, Paradis and Thibodeau also called upon Maine’s senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, to consider the needs of Mainers before casting their votes on the nomination.
Sen. Chenette began by sharing his concerns about possible rollbacks to LGBTQ rights under a far-right Supreme Court with Kavanaugh on the bench. He said, “This fight for the next Supreme Court justice is very personal … as the only openly gay senator in the state. To me, there is a real threat of losing a well-established right that clearly verifies that my marriage to my husband is as legitimate as our next-door neighbors in the eyes of our government and in the eyes of our society. Brett Kavanaugh is not independent; he is not moderate. I hope our U.S. senators are doing their due diligence, including Senator Susan Collins and Angus King, to ask those tough questions.”
Mayor Paradis underscored Chenette’s concerns about Kavanaugh’s record in her comments: “As a registered nurse, I’m most concerned about access to health care, especially for those with pre-existing conditions and women. Brett Kavanaugh ruled recently in the infamous Jane Doe case and tried to block an undocumented 17-year-old in government custody from trying to access her constitutionally protected right to an abortion. When we limit access to safe, legal abortion, women die. This is hugely concerning to me as a woman in an elected position, and I’m also hearing from my constituents that they’re concerned. His extensive record merits close scrutiny, and we need to know more. I hope that Senator Collins can take into consideration the health care of Mainers before taking a vote.”
In closing, Councilmember Thibodeau reiterated the dangers of Kavanaugh’s record. He also demanded that Senator Collins’ vote protect Mainers’ essential rights, and said, “From my perspective, going forward, I think that we’ve gotta hold the line here and make sure that Senators Collins and Murkowski, who have both not taken a position on this nominee yet, hear our voices to ensure that we can continue to have affordable health care accessible to all Americans, to continue the work that has been done … to protect our environment, and most importantly, to make sure we protect … the basic rights that women in our country have.”