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August 21, 2018Alerts

Act Today To Voice Concerns About the Nomination of Judge Kavanaugh


President Donald Trump has recommended Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy who retired from the United States Supreme Court in June. The Senate Judiciary Committee has announced that hearings for Judge Kavanaugh will begin on Tuesday, September 4th and could last as long as 4 days.

Supreme Court nominations are controversial because there are no term limits. Justices serve for life or until they retire. Advocacy groups, like the disability community, get involved in nominations to the Supreme Court because the Court is the third branch of government and the ultimate authority over the legal system of the United States. One obligation of the Supreme Court is to interpret federal law and the Constitution. So, a nomination to the Court is important and their views on the Constitution and their track record is important to advocacy groups.

We are asking you to act today to oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination because of his decisions on issues that impact people with disabilities.

The principle of self-determination holds that people with disabilities must have the freedom and authority to exercise control over their own lives. Based on his ruling in Doe ex rel. Tarlow v. D.C., Judge Kavanaugh believes otherwise. The Doe plaintiffs were subjected to elective surgeries based on the consent of DC officials; Judge Kavanaugh dismissed the notion that the plaintiffs could express a choice or preference regarding medical treatment on the basis of their intellectual disability. These decisions were often made without even speaking with the person with a disability. People with disabilities have experienced a long and painful history of forced sterilization and other intrusions into their physical autonomy. Self-determination is an integral part of the disability community and cannot be rolled back.

Regarding employment discrimination, Judge Kavanaugh has consistently ruled in favor of employers while routinely disregarding the experiences of people with disabilities. He has time and time again, demonstrated undue deference to employers and a narrow understanding of anti-discrimination protections.

Judge Kavanaugh is also a strong proponent of school voucher programs. Typically, students with disabilities who participate in these programs are forced to waive their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including the right to receive a free and appropriate education (FAPE). Given the ongoing threats to a quality education for students with disabilities, the disability community cannot support a Supreme Court nominee who is willing to trade away these protections.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed millions more people with disabilities to gain access to health care by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a pre-existing condition. Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly expressed public skepticism of the ACA and has ruled in several cases to undermine elements of the law and hinder its implementation. These rulings set a dangerous precedent for the disability community. A Supreme Court nominee whose actions and record jeopardize disabled individuals’ access to health care and, therefore, impact their ability to live, work, and participate in their communities is unacceptable.

Click here to send a letter to your Senators.

Thank you.