ACLU Breaks Neutrality Rule to Oppose Kavanaugh

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced Saturday that it is opposing Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

This is a break in the ACLU’s historical practice of not endorsing or opposing judicial candidates.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court. Period.”

The ACLU issued a statement saying that it has many reasons to doubt Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve on the Supreme Court, including:

  • Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual misconduct accusations against Kavanaugh,
  • the subsequent allegations from other women,
  • the “inadequate investigation” into the claims of Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct, and
  • Kavanaugh’s own testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

They subsequently tweeted:

Dr. Ford’s credible testimony, subsequent allegations of sexual assault, the inadequate investigation, and Judge Kavanaugh‘s testimony at the hearing lead us to believe he is unfit to serve on our nation’s highest court.”

“This is not a decision taken lightly,” according to a resolution the organization’s national board of directors passed. “We cannot remain silent under these extraordinary circumstances about a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land. The standard for such an appointment should be high, and the burden is on the nominee.”

The ACLU statement said this is the fourth time that its board of directors voted to oppose a Supreme Court nominee.

The ACLU for many years had a strict policy of not endorsing or opposing nominees to judiciary or executive positions. Later, it changed its bylaws and to allow it to oppose any Supreme Court nominee “whose record demonstrates a judicial philosophy that would fundamentally jeopardize the Supreme Court’s critical and unique role in protecting civil liberties in the United States.”

In Kavanaugh’s case, however, the ACLU said its opposition is not based on his judicial philosophy, or whether it raises concerns about civil liberties.

“We oppose him in light of the credible allegations of sexual assault against him,” ACLU President Susan Herman said in the statement.

The ACLU has long touted a history of nonpartisanship and has said it works to protect the civil rights of all people regardless of politics.

In the era of Trump, the ACLU has placed itself at the forefront of the legal battles over some of the president’s most controversial policies. For example:

  • It has sued the Trump administration over its practice of separating families at the U.S.–Mexico border and detaining asylum seekers.
  • It has repeatedly challenged iterations of Trump’s travel ban that keeps people from certain majority-Muslim countries from coming to the United States.

By opposing the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh the ACLU has once again taken a stand on a controversial issue that is dividing Americans. And in this case it is clear that the stand they are taking is one that will promote the constitutional rights of all Americans.