l-r; Derrick Johnson, NAACP President/CEO and Judge Brett Kavanaugh

By Clint Confehr

President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy threatens civil rights and health care, opponents said this week. Furthermore, it looks like he’s trying to protect himself from the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

“This president is under investigation and should not be in a position to pick an individual who ultimately will have to decide his fate,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said Tuesday. Trump “feels like he’s above the law,” Johnson said.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville said, “Kavanaugh was … rejected … in 2003 and 2005 for judgeships; I doubt he will be confirmed this time … People are tired of nominees who may look good on TV but seem programmed to stealthily turn back the clock.”

Kavanaugh’s record shows he’s no friend of civil rights for human beings over corporations, 14 lawyers and civil rights leaders said during phone calls. He’s nominated to overturn Roe v. Wade and weaken the Affordable Care Act. Records from Kavanaugh’s time as a White House staffer should be public.

Having noted Robert Mueller’s investigation, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill cited a supreme court decision in the 1920s. Justice must satisfy the appearance of justice.

“The mere fact that this looks as though the president is trying to select his own jury on the Supreme Court taints the process, taints this nomination and taints this candidate whose nomination should not go forward,” Ifill said.

Republicans, Rev. Al Sharpton said, opposed Merrick Garland’s nomination by President Obama because it was too close to an election. “Now they’re changing the rules back for Kavanaugh,” Sharpton said. “It’s a blatant double standard.”

Judge Garland leads the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He’s served longer there than Kavanaugh.

“Kavanaugh’s personal writings raise concerns that he would allow Trump’s abuses of power to go unchecked,” Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron said.

The Court’s recent decisions foreshadow a reversal on civil rights and justice, and reflects tormented thinking to justify policy.

“Republicans are twisting themselves in knots” again with policies separating children from parents at the Mexican border, said Miguel Rodriguez, senior vice president for government affairs at the Center for American Progress.

Leaders of and lawyers for 11 civil rights groups, from the Legal Defense Fund to Service Employees International and Planned Parenthood, spoke Monday during a briefing hosted by the Alliance for Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and People For the American Way.

Confirming Kavanaugh puts at risk: women’s reproductive rights [Trump campaigned against Roe v. Wade]; voting rights; affirmative action in higher education; and other guarantees of democracy and equal opportunity, said civil rights leaders and lawyers who were asked if Trump is trying to protect himself from Robert Muller’s investigation.

“It’s no wonder that President Trump has nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court [which will soon deliberate on] … whether the president is compelled to testify before a grand jury, whether he can be subpoenaed, and … whether the president, his family and aides can be held accountable by the special counsel,” said Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Michael Keegan, president of People for the American Way, said confirmation hearings and a vote on Kavanaugh “should not take place until after the Mueller investigation is completed.”

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis said he fears Kavanaugh would move the court further right and undermine civil rights. Kavanaugh: will “entrench the 5-4 conservative dominance that gave us Citizens United.” Kavanaugh-like justices gut the Voting Rights Act and gave extremists the right to discriminate and erode protections for minorities, he said.

Among 113 Supreme Court justices, CNN reports, all but six are white men. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would be the 108th white male justice.

Nov. 6 repercussions are predicted. Human Rights Campaign’s Legal Director Sarah Warbelow says Kavanaugh’s nomination “is energizing progressive voters.”

Clint Confehr

Clint Confehr — an American journalist since 1972 — first wrote for The Tennessee Tribune in 1999. His news writing and photography in South Central Tennessee and the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical...