While President Donald Trump said Tuesday morning that the nomination process for his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh would be a "beautiful thing to watch" over the coming weeks, progressive advocacy groups say they will leverage their collective political will—and the tens of millions of their outraged members—to stand against the president's far-right and extremist choice.
Calling Trump's nomination of Kavanaugh a "five alarm fire," NARAL Pro-Choice America, MoveOn.org, Color of Change, and other groups announced a mass mobilization against the right-wing judge's confirmation, including a nationwide day of action planned for August 26.
Roe v. Wade hangs in the balance with whomever Donald Trump nominates to the Supreme Court - we must protect this freedom. Sign up for day of action. #womensrights #mybodymychoice #reproductiverights https://t.co/syldvVnggM
— Katie Shorey (@KatieShorey) July 6, 2018
Americans concerned about Kavanaugh's opposition to abortion rights and other issues the Supreme Court could rule on in the coming years are being urged to demand that Democrats unite against the nomination, and to confront Republican senators who are considered potential opponents—much like thousands of Americans did last summer as the Senate debated a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
MoveOn.org members are already "making crystal clear that a vote for Brett Kavanaugh is a vote to end Roe, criminalize abortion, and punish women," said the group's Washington director, Ben Wikler. "We need to make sure that they understand that their entire political career will be haunted by their decision on Brett Kavanaugh for good or for ill."
MoveOn's website has a #SaveSCOTUS section for local events nationwide this week and other organizing resources.
#StopKavanaugh - The American people deserve a #SCOTUS that believes the Constitution protects all of us, not just the wealthy and powerful. 7/9-7/13 find a #SaveSCOTUS event: https://t.co/kBq9mFMj6a pic.twitter.com/WmDIP1o4Km
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) July 10, 2018
While reproductive rights are at risk, Wikler noted, "protections for LGBTQ Americans, the Affordable Care Act, protections for people with pre-existing conditions...the ability to protect our democracy and voting rights...and the fundamental question of whether the president is above the law—all of those things are on the line, and that's why MoveOn members will respond to this just as we did with the healthcare fight when nobody thought a victory was possible."
"We need to make sure that [senators] understand that their entire political career will be haunted by their decision on Brett Kavanaugh for good or for ill."
—Ben Wikler, MoveOn.orgTrump has already named one judge, Justice Neil Gorsuch, to the nation's highest court, after three Democrats joined Republicans in voting to confirm him last year. Indivisible co-executive director Leah Greenberg spoke about efforts to pressure Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to unite his party in opposition.
"We can't lose a single Democratic vote this time," Greenberg said. Indivisible chapters based in New York "held a rally outside [Schumer's] office with more than 300 people yesterday pushing him to whip the votes and to step up into this leadership moment."
The distinct possibility that Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade, criminalizing abortion care, is playing a major role in mobilizing Americans across the political spectrum, said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
"The anxiety in the country is palpable," said Hogue. "We're hearing minute by minute from both our existing members and new members, and by the way, not just the progressive base. We have independent and Republican women ringing our phone off the hook, very concerned about this moment, this nominee, this court, and this administration."
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are being targeted by their constituents, as the two so-called "moderate" lawmakers have equivocated in recent weeks over how they would vote on an anti-choice nominee like Kavanaugh.
In Portland, Maine, a rapid response rally began hours after Trump announced Kavanaugh's nomination outside Collins's office, with protesters holding signs reading "Women Won't Back Down" and "My Body Is Not Up for Debate."
"We saved the Affordable Care Act through Susan Collins and we need to save the Supreme Court," progressive activist Betsy Sweet told Common Dreams.
"It's not just about having a 'Blue Wave' in November, it's about us," added Portland resident Tina Marie Davidson. "We have everything to lose so we can't take anything for granted...We've been fighting for a year and a half, we rallied [Collins] last year for the ACA and we got her on our side, so we're just going to do what we did but even better and make sure she knows that this is her legacy. She needs to stand with us and represent us."
"These senators hold the keys to women's futures and our fundamental freedoms in their hands," said Hogue. "Donald Trump has been crystal clear, he wants to end Roe vs. Wade. Kavanaugh is his path to doing so. Now the only question is whether these senators will stand up and fight for women and families or be a rubber stamp on Trump’s agenda. Seven in 10 Americans believe abortion should be legal. We are the majority and those who vote for Kavanaugh, which is a vote to end Roe v. Wade, will be held accountable at the ballot box.”