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Unions Oppose Trump's Supreme Court Nominee

Just hours after the announcement of Brett Kavanaugh's nomination, the Steelworkers, AFL-CIO, CWA and AFT all announced their opposition

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jul 10, 2018

Last night, Trump announced the selection of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. UCOMM previously reported that Kavanaugh has a disturbing history of voting against workers and against unions. He will also represent a seismic shift in the court.

According to Five Thirty-Eight, Kavanaugh would be considered considerably more conservative than Justice Kennedy, who he is replacing. Below is a graph from Five Thirty-Eight showing where each judge would rank on the political spectrum.

The response to Kavanaugh’s nomination has been swift. Unions from across the country issued statements in the hours following the appointment demanding that Senators oppose the nomination. Below are some of their statements.


Judge Kavanaugh has a dangerous track record of protecting the privileges of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of working people. Any Supreme Court nominee must be fair, independent and committed to protecting the rights, freedoms and legal safeguards of all Americans. Judge Kavanaugh does not meet this standard and must not be confirmed.

Judge Kavanaugh routinely rules against working families, regularly rejects employees’ right to receive employer-provided health care, too often sides with employers in denying employees relief from discrimination in the workplace and promotes overturning well-established U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Kavanaugh’s rulings raise very serious concerns about where he stands on key issues like employees’ right to organize, workplace discrimination, voting rights, marriage equality, access to reproductive healthcare and corporate responsibility.

We know that the Supreme Court will be hearing more challenges to our access to healthcare, especially for people with pre-existing conditions. Since conservatives were unable to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they want the next justice to help them dismantle it in the courts.

Kavanaugh is even on the record saying that a president should not be subject to subpoena or indictment. Kavanaugh’s willingness to allow a president to operate above the law is an affront to mainstream democratic values and should disqualify him as a nominee.

Communications Workers of America

CWA opposes the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and calls on members of the U.S. Senate to reject this nomination. Judge Kavanaugh routinely rules against workers and their families and regularly sides with employers against employees seeking justice in the workplace, including CWA members. Just last year, Kavanaugh issued a partial dissent in a case involving more than 300 NABET-CWA technicians at CNN who lost their jobs and the benefits of union representation in the wake of the company’s phony reorganization scheme to get rid of union workers. He concluded that the company was not liable for violations of the National Labor Relations Act and should not have to pay back wages. He has stood with AT&T to prevent CWA members in Connecticut who interact with customers or work in public from wearing union shirts protesting their treatment by the company. He has held that a waiver of a right to picket allowed Verizon to prevent workers from displaying pro-union signs in their cars.

Judge Kavanaugh's unwillingness to protect workers even extends to life-and-death situations. In a case which involved the death of a Sea World trainer who was working with a killer whale, he dissented from the majority, holding that the Department of Labor lacks authority to regulate activities of participants in sports events or entertainment shows in order to protect their health and safety. Working people can’t afford to have Judge Kavanaugh making decisions that without doubt will adversely affect our families and our communities.

United Steelworkers (USW)

It's crucial to working families that the vacancy on the court be filled by a mainstream jurist, not one who will support Supreme Court sessions like the last one in which the right-wing majority repeatedly subjugated workers' rights. In just two cases this year, the court's radical conservatives limited the ability of workers to join together to file class actions lawsuits to redress workplace grievances such as wage theft and forbid members of labor unions from collecting fair share fees from public sector workers who choose not to join but who the union is required to represent. Kavanaugh's opinions show him to be a rogue jurist far to the right of the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. An illustration of Kavanaugh's extremism is that he has participated in the highest number of dissents per year of any judge on the D.C. Circuit. Activist jurists like Kavanaugh, who contort the law and U.S. Constitution to conform to their political and religious positions, should return to the private practice of law, and not be promoted to the Supreme Court.

Now that Kavanagh has been nominated, the Senate will have the ability to vote on whether or not to approve him for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. With 51 Republican Senators, three will need to vote no to block his nomination. Since John McCain is recovering from brain cancer and may not be able to make it to Washington to vote, the two most important Republicans are Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. It is important that union members in both of these states begin contacting them today. The AFT has set up an easy way to do that by clicking here.

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