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NASW opposes nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be next U.S. Supreme Court Justice

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Due to Judge Brett Kavanaugh's judicial record and past opinions on a variety of issues and President Trump’s promise that he would appoint a Supreme Court Justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) opposes Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.  

This is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land. Kavanaugh's appointment would create an imbalance of judicial philosophy at a time when the court seems to be reneging on protecting the rights of vulnerable and underrepresented Americans. 

NASW is particularly concerned that in past decisions as a justice on the D.C. Circuit Court, Judge Kavanaugh has shown an antipathy to women’s reproductive rights and Roe v Wade. 

For example, in a recent case where an adolescent immigrant woman who was in detention sought to exercise her right to obtain a legal abortion, Kavanaugh sought to prevent her access to abortion care. His flawed reasoning was that by allowing the young woman to obtain an abortion, the court was creating a “new right” for immigrants in custody by permitting them ‘to obtain immediate abortion on demand."

NASW is also deeply disturbed Kavanaugh was against court rulings that supported the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. To us it is unconscionable that a Justice on the Supreme Court would oppose affordable health care for low-income citizens. 

In addition, Kavanaugh has: 

  • Claimed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional
  • Routinely decided in favor of the rich and powerful against powerless Americans
  • Opposed workforce safety initiatives
  • Opposed LGBTQ equality
  • Ruled against as against consumer rights
  • Opposed environment justice initiatives and environmental protections
  • Showed disdain for workers’ rights

Ending gun violence is also a high priority for NASW. Unfortunately, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has a history of opposition to common-sense measures to promote gun safety. He wrote that “there is no meaningful or persuasive constitutional distinction between semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles"; and that assault rifles are protected by the Second Amendment. Given his opinions, there are indications that Kavanaugh would be antagonistic to common sense gun safety laws. 

The selection of a nominee for a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court is not a matter to be taken lightly. NASW is uneasy that many social justice, economic justice, and human rights protections could be threatened under the current administration. We only need look at the plight of asylum seeking families in the Southwest border to realize there are reasons for our apprehension. 

Therefore, NASW cannot not sit idly by when the next appointment to the next Supreme Court justice could further undermine social justice gains made over the last half century.

NASW views this nomination as a part of a long struggle that we and many other Americans who are committed to equality and human rights must undertake. 

We will continue to express concern - and even outrage - when there are threats to the American value of caring about the least of us. America needs Supreme Court Justices who embrace that value. Clearly, Judge Kavanaugh does not.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.