Not surprisingly, President Donald Trump’s selection of Brett Kavanaugh as the newest member of the United States Supreme Court is an unpopular choice among Queens Democrats.
In a televised broadcast on Monday night, the president picked Kavanaugh to fill the SCOTUS seat left being vacated this month by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. At the press conference announcing his decision, Trump cited Kavanaugh’s “impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law” as some of his reasons for choosing him.
But Democrats from Queens and other parts of New York have called Trump’s pick “irresponsible” and some have made plans to protest his decision that they say would endanger the rights of women and the LGBTQ community.
“Brett Kavanaugh’s backwards thinking and irresponsible decisions on a host of issues — from a woman’s right to choose, to gun control, to immigration, to the environment — make clear that he would be a dangerous addition to the Supreme Court. His nomination must be defeated,” said state Senator Michael Gianaris in a statement yesterday.
State Senator Jose Peralta said that the president is “an attempt to bring us back in time and reverse all the progress we have made in the last decade.” Following the announcement, the senator said that he would call for a special session in Albany to codify Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide — in New York.
“Here in New York, it is crucial that we codify Roe v. Wade and protect a woman’s right to choose as well as access to safe and affordable contraception. This is why I am calling for a special session in Albany to ensure we do just that. In addition, I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing an executive order to protect abortion rights. It’s a good step, but we need a special session to guarantee women’s rights in New York,” Peralta said.
Other Democrats have taken swift action after yesterday’s SCOTUS announcement. Today, a statement from gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon said that she would be holding a rally on Tuesday afternoon to save Roe v. Wade in Manhattan’s Union Square South. Nixon will rally along with #VOTEPROCHOICE co-founder Heidi Sieck, state Senate Democratic candidates Jessica Ramos, Alessandra Biaggi, Rachel May, Jasi Robinson and Julie Goldberg, and other pro-choice activists.
Though he has not taken an official stance for or against Roe v. Wade, Kavanaugh has been criticized for his dissent on a ruling from a Washington, D.C., circuit court last October. The case involved an undocumented teenage girl in detention who was seeking the right to an abortion.
“The government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the government may further those interests so long as it does not impose an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion,” said Kavanaugh in his dissent on the ruling.
The Republicans control 51 of the senate’s 100 seats, while Democrats have 49. Kavanaugh’s bid for Supreme Court Justice must be confirmed by a majority vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who refused to consider a previous president’s Supreme Court justice nominee in the final year of that president’s term — called for Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to move forward “fairly.”
Robert Pozarycki contributed to this report.