The new Supreme Court term kicks off this week, right in the middle of a pitched battle over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. We’ve already outlined many of the reasons why Brett Kavanaugh should never be confirmed to the Supreme Court. If he is confirmed, we won’t have to wait long to see his impact: there are cases that could end up before the Supreme Court next term that would have major implications for all of our rights, including our reproductive rights, health care, LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, voting rights, and more.
Reproductive Rights: Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri v. Andersen
Making its way towards the Supreme Court is Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri v. Andersen. This case could decide if states can ban Planned Parenthood from providing critical health care services like birth control, wellness exams, vaccines, and cancer screenings to women on Medicaid. This should raise alarm bells for everyone. It’s no secret that Kavanaugh was picked to gut Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion. But he’s made it clear that he’s willing to prioritize employers’ religious beliefs over women’s health and access to birth control. This case could give Kavanaugh a chance to further limit our reproductive rights.
Health Care: Texas v. U.S.
With the full support and backing of the Trump administration, conservative states have launched yet another attack on the Affordable Care Act, this time suing to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Kavanaugh’s record paints a bleak picture for the future of health care. His own clerks have written that “Brett Kavanaugh Said Obamacare Was Unprecedented and Unlawful,” and that no other “contender on President Trump’s short list is on record so vigorously criticizing” the Affordable Care Act. If the case makes it to SCOTUS and they rule favor of the states in Texas v. U.S., over 50 million people could lose their health coverage – including cancer survivors, pregnant women, diabetics, and more.
LGBTQ Rights: Several cases
There are multiple cases the Supreme Court could take up for consideration this term on LGBTQ rights. The Second Circuit recently held in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. There are also several cases are pending in lower courts, including Gavin Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board and Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, that could worsen discrimination against transgender students in public schools. At his hearing, multiple senators questioned Kavanaugh about whether he would protect LGBTQ rights. Senator Cory Booker asked if it was morally wrong to fire someone for being gay. Kavanaugh refused to answer. Senator Kamala Harris asked if SCOTUS’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was a great moment in Supreme Court history. Kavanaugh refused to answer. Kavanaugh’s refusal to answer basic questions about LGBTQ rights raise serious questions about his commitment to upholding these critical rights.
Immigrants’ Rights: Several cases
The Supreme Court has already taken one case on immigrants’ rights – and could take on several more. The court has already taken on Nielsen v. Preap, which could decide whether the government can indefinitely detain undocumented persons who pose no danger to their community, and aren’t a flight risk, without bail before a removal hearing. Flores v. Sessions and Ms. L et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are both working their way towards SCOTUS, and challenge the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border. Also working its way towards SCOTUS is Regents of University of California v. U.S Department of Homeland Security, which challenges Trump’s decision to suspend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Kavanaugh has ruled against immigrants’ rights and has made it clear he believes in expansive, often unchecked, powers for President Trump. All of which means bad news for immigrants’ rights if Kavanaugh is confirmed.
Voting Rights: Whitford v. Nichols, Benisek v. Lamone, and Common Cause v. Rucho
Last term, the Supreme Court heard cases addressing whether extreme partisan gerrymandering is constitutional – but sent the cases back to lower courts without answering the question. Either of last term’s cases – or another case from North Carolina, Common Cause v. Rucho, that raises a similar issue – could come back to SCOTUS this term. Kavanaugh doesn’t have the greatest record on voting rights. Before the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, Kavanaugh wrote an opinion upholding a South Carolina voter ID law that would have disenfranchised tens of thousands of people of color. And we can’t forget Kavanaugh’s highly partisan outburst at his hearing, where he accused Democratic senators of working to get revenge on him on behalf of the Clintons. Letting a hyperpartisan Supreme Court justice with a bad record on voting rights cast the deciding vote on whether or not extreme partisan gerrymandering is probably not the best idea.
The bottom line?
If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, he could cast the deciding vote on key issues impacting our reproductive rights, health care, LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, voting rights, and more – not in the distant future, but nearly immediately. It’s never been more important to call your senators and tell them to #StopKavanaugh.