On September 4th, 2018, PFAW hosted a member telebriefing joined by more than 2,500 members and activists to address issues related to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.
PFAW Vice President for Communications and Research Drew Courtney moderated the telebriefing, with PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker, PFAW Senior Fellow Elliot Mincberg, PFAW Alaska organizer Nick Moe and PFAW North Dakota organizer Jenika Rufer joining the call as panelists for an hour long discussion and Q+A from callers.
PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker began by emphasizing that protesters were in the hearing room while Democrats raised their deep concerns about having access to only 10 percent of Kavanaugh’s records from his career in the George W. Bush administration. She reinforced that this is not a business as usual situation due to how much is at stake: women’s rights, reproductive rights, affordable healthcare, clean air, environmental regulations and a host of other policies and other environmental concerns.
Elliot Mincberg flagged, as he did in a previous telebriefing, that Kavanaugh has an expansive view of presidential power and is the most frequent D.C. Circuit dissenter in cases ranging from reproductive rights to net neutrality. If Kavanaugh were confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, individual liberties, individual rights, choice and reproductive healthcare access would face very real threats from our nation’s highest court.
PFAW organizer in North Dakota Jenika Rufer has been hard at work pressing Senator Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., an outspoken advocate for people preexisting conditions, to oppose Kavanaugh. She encouraged members to phone bank and write letters to the senator as well as letters to the editor to demonstrate their opposition. One of the strongest arguments to press is that her constituents are at risk of losing access to health care if Kavanaugh were confirmed.
Nick Moe, PFAW organizer in Alaska, briefed callers on the meeting Alaskans had with Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska before she met with Kavanaugh. Moe reiterated the fact that Murkowski could be a key senator to vote against Kavanaugh, just as she opposed Trumpcare four times previously. Medicaid expansion under the ACA has been crucial for Alaska, especially Alaskan natives.
Finally, Courtney stressed the underlying consequences an extreme, dangerous candidate like Kavanaugh would have on the lives of everyday Americans. Telebriefing panelists further explained how Supreme Court nomination hearings work and shared ways for PFAW organizers, volunteers, and members to use their voices effectively to ensure that the Senate rejects the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.