Judge Kavanaugh would threaten hard-won protections for the right to vote.
Judge Kavanaugh worked against the interests of minority voters while working with fellow conservative ideologues as an attorney in private practice.
- 1999-2000 Term: Supreme Court considers Native Hawaiians’ rights in Rice v. Cayetano
- Kavanaugh-Bork-Clegg amicus brief argues Hawaii violated the Constitution by permitting only Native Hawaiians to vote in elections for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs
- Kavanaugh op-ed on “Hawaii’s naked racial-spoils system” accuses the Clinton Justice Department of “sheer political calculation” and supporting “racial separatism” for its involvement in the case, citing Justice Scalia’s “one race” theory
- In an interview, Kavanaugh says: “This case is one more step along the way in what I see as an inevitable conclusion within the next 10 to 20 years when the court says we are all one race in the eyes of government”
- Though the Supreme Court shares Kavanaugh’s ultimate conclusion, Stevens-Ginsburg dissent cites Hawaii’s unique history and Supreme Court precedent
Judge Kavanaugh was a senior advisor in the George W. Bush administration when voting rights came under serious attack. Today, the American people are being denied access to records that would tell us what role he played in those attacks.
- The Bush administration fired U.S. attorneys for refusing to prosecute nonexistent voter fraud and politicized U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division hiring
- The Bush administration undermined the Voting Rights Act by politicizing Section 5 enforcement and, though President Bush ultimately signed the 2006 VRA renewal, questioning the ongoing need for this landmark law
- Judge Kavanaugh served as White House staff secretary—a senior advisor role deeply involved in major policy decisions—from 2003-2006, when these actions were taken
- A responsible senator who supports voting rights will not recklessly allow a vote on this lifetime nominee until they have a chance to review his full record, including documents from his staff secretary tenure
Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record further demonstrates a lack of commitment to racial justice.
- South Carolina v. U.S. ruling upholds a restrictive voter ID law that has, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, significant racial disparities
- Judge Kavanaugh’s ruling impacts nearly 200,000 registered South Carolina voters, including more than 60,000 nonwhite voters, without DMV-issued ID
- Judge Bates, a fellow Bush appointee, agrees with Kavanaugh but writes separately to underscore the importance of Voting Rights Act preclearance: “[O]ne cannot doubt the vital function that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act has played here … Congress has recognized the importance of such a deterrent effect”
- Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center v. HUD ruling dismisses a claim of racial disparity in post-Katrina housing relief and broadly attacks the ability to prove disparate impact claims
The stakes for our democracy are high in a number of key pending cases that may well make their way to the high court.
- Whitford v. Nichols, Benisek v. Lamone, and Common Cause v. Rucho: Whether extreme partisan gerrymandering is reviewable as a possible constitutional violation
- NAACP v. Merrill: Voting-related problems related to prison locations and the vast disparities in minority incarceration rates
- Thompson v. Kemp, Thomas v. Bryant, Indiana State Conference of NAACP v. Lawson, and One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen: Racial discrimination challenges to state redistricting plans and restrictions on voting rights
- Fish v. Kobach: Requirement that voters submit proof of citizenship before voting