The Stand

Kavanaugh saga’s lesson: Keep fighting for justice

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By LYNNE DODSON


(Oct. 4, 2018) — This week, we’re told that the FBI has investigated Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the assault of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Though this has slightly delayed the scheduled floor vote on his Senate confirmation until tomorrow, it is astounding that his past record and his performance during his testimony last week were not enough to prevent the Senate Judiciary Committee from advancing his confirmation. It’s clear, if this process were based on his qualifications, Judge Kavanaugh would not become a Supreme Court justice.

We knew, prior to the last week’s testimony, which side Brett Kavanaugh is on when it comes to the issues that matter to working people.

We knew his track record — he ruled against employers covering contraception and against the Affordable Care Act. He’s written arguments against the prosecution or even questioning of sitting presidents for illegal actions. When the White House introduced him, they bragged that Kavanaugh has undermined 75 federal protections for workers, for consumers, and for the environment. We knew his record, and we knew that Kavanaugh is somebody who has repeatedly sided with the wealthy, the powerful, with large corporations, with people who are trying to take the country backwards and eviscerate many of the protections that we as workers, consumers and the American people rely upon.

We knew all this. We also knew that this is why he was nominated, and why the Republicans in the Senate want to confirm him.

Last Thursday’s hearing and Friday’s Senate Judiciary Committee recommendation to confirm him, showed us more than Brett Kavanaugh’s character. It showed more than that he lies and obfuscates, feels entitled to whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, with no regard for others. It showed us even more than that Kavanaugh is a partisan political hack with a temperament unsuited for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Thursday’s hearing showed us not only Brett Kavanaugh’s character, it showed us the character of Republicans in the United States Senate. We saw, on live TV, radio, and played over and over in commentary, that this nomination is about protecting those currently in power and securing a court that will roll back the progress we’ve made over the past century.

We do not yet know what the FBI investigation will reveal. It is difficult to comprehend what might be the turn-around point for the handful of Republican senators who proclaim to be undecided. If last week’s hearings did not provide these senators with enough information to know that Judge Kavanaugh is not suited for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the country, it is difficult to imagine what further information they need.

We’re seeing now how far the Republicans will go to try to turn back the progress we’ve made on the issues that matter to working people. We’re seeing how far they will go to protect and enrich the already privileged and powerful — whether they are individuals or corporations.

Do I sound enraged? I am. We all should be.

Fortunately, we are also seeing ample opportunities to turn that rage into action. Thousands of women are telling their stories, inspired by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to speak their truths. Cultural expectations are changing, even as those in the most powerful positions try to turn back the clock. Millions of us are standing up and speaking out.

We cannot let up. Whether or not Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, we will not stop fighting for justice.

And we also have the opportunity this November to vote to change the balance of power in Congress. We’re seeing incredible candidates in Washington state running on issues important to working people, and against candidates who keep trying to suppress the power of working people. We can elect new U.S. Representatives like Lisa Brown, Kim Schrier, Christine Brown and Carolyn Long to join our current champions in Congress. Our state legislative elections are critical, too — and we have an outstanding roster of incumbents and candidates we know will move us forward. (See the WSLC’s 2018 endorsements and the Labor Neighbor schedule for opportunities to volunteer to support their election.)

We can and will continue fighting for justice in our contracts and in legislation. We can and will continue organizing and giving all workers a voice on the job. We can and will continue raising and pushing initiatives that improve the quality of life for our communities.

In the words of that old labor song: “We shall not give up the fight. We have only started.”


15-dodson-lynneLynne Dodson is Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. 

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