Brett Kavanaugh has been the topic of heated debate across the United States since his nomination to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court was announced earlier in July. Now, days into his confirmation hearing, more controversy ensued as leaked documents bring to light what many Americans already knew and feared about Kavanaugh’s views. Views that could change the course of this country, should he be accepted into the highest court in the country.
In the midst of the hearing, The New York Times acquired discreet emails in which Kavanaugh discussed the legality and strength of the historic Roe v. Wade decision. In a 2003 email, he replied to a claim that referred to the decision as the settled law of the land by stating that. “ I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since the court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so.” He does not mention whether he himself believes that the law should be overturned, however, fear is high within women across the country that their right to choose will be taken away should Kavanaugh be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
The Kavanaugh nomination has struck fear in more than just women; many minorities across the country fear that with another republican on the Supreme Court, decisions that guarantee their rights would be rolled back until they effectively have none.
Following the The Times’ article, Senators Cory Book (NJ) and Mazie K. Hirono (HI) also released “committee confidential” emails in the hopes of outing some of Kavanaugh’s less favorable views. Emails released by Hawaii’s senators referred to policies concerning native Hawaiians and depicted Kavanaugh’s debate over whether they should be protected like Native American tribes. Considering if they were, they would be subject to strict scrutiny (meaning they would have more protection).
More publicized, however, was the release of emails from New Jersey senator Cory Booker, a moment he referred to as the closest he would get to a “I am Spartacus” moment. Announcing his plans prior to the actual release of the emails, he fully acknowledged the consequences that could come from his actions, such as losing his job on the Senate. It was later revealed that Booker was given permission to release these documents, which were not in fact confidential, thus making his Spartacus moment a little less spectacular. It does not, however, take away from the attention drawn to the emails that outline racial issues such as racial profiling and affirmative action that Kavanaugh discussed.
Supreme Court decisions set a precedent that lower courts, and the country, must follow. When the high court decided that is was unconstitutional to have segregated schools or for women not to have control of their bodies, or for same-sex couple to not be allowed to wed, they set a precedent that fixed these wrongs. However, it’s all conditional. It all depends on who is sitting on the Supreme Court and there is great fear among minorities that a Kavanaugh confirmation would bring them one step closer to losing the rights that many of them just recently received. Releasing emails that reveal the true views of the man that could have a hand in altering this country for the next few decades could help in deciding whether he wins the seat. Or it could have had no effect at all. What’s important is that people are standing up and protesting against what they believe will hurt their country.