Demonstrators called on lawmakers to stand against Kavanaugh mainly over concerns about women's and immigrant rights.
More than a hundred people gathered in Seattle on Sunday to protest President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who remains on track to be confirmed for the seat despite recent events that have challenged the process.
Demonstrators called on lawmakers to stand against Kavanaugh mainly over concerns about women’s and immigrant rights. They chanted and held signs including “Stop Kavanaugh” and “Keep Roe vs. Wade Forever” in reference to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that banned state and federal restrictions on abortion.
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President Donald Trump’s pick is facing increasing challenges ahead of the start of his confirmation hearings on Sept. 4, most recently the death of Sen. John McCain that temporarily reduced the Senate Republican majority. Democrats, who have opposed the nomination from the start citing the impending midterm elections, are also pushing back after a former lawyer for Trump pleaded guilty to charges including violations of campaign finance laws, while implicating the president.
The combination of those events is still unlikely to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation, according to Stuart Streichler, University of Washington affiliate associate law professor who studies the Supreme Court.
“A lot of senators are probably locked in,” Streichler said by phone Sunday. McCain’s death cuts the Republicans’ majority to just one vote, and two of their own, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have been seen as potential opponents of the nomination. “But really, it’s going to be the Democrats who have to hold the line on senators who are up for re-election in Trump country,” he added.
The rally was organized by Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, Seattle Indivisible, Seattle Clinic Defense, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Fuse Washington. Demonstrations were also organized in other major cities including Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Streichler said that while abortion is seen as a key issue, the nomination will also have implications for a wide range of issues including the president’s power. Kavanaugh has suggested in an article he wrote for the Minnesota Law Review that the president should be protected from facing criminal investigations or civil lawsuits while in office.
“There could be a lot of issues that potentially go to the Supreme Court or through the other courts about presidential power or presidential immunity,” he said.
Issues related to gun rights, regulation, health care and religious rights may also be considered by Kavanaugh on the court, Streichler said. For the protesters in Seattle’s Westlake Park on Sunday, abortion was one of the dominant topics.
“This is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade,” said NARAL Washington Executive Director Tiffany Hankins. She has worked with the organization for almost 10 years and said she’s seen more young people taking action against what they see as a reversal on strides made for reproductive rights. “We see this as the fight of our generation.”