Swing Vote Shift

The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has come as a terrifying shock to the abortion rights community. The crucial role that swing vote Justice Kennedy has played in the protection and progression of abortion rights cannot be ignored. Now with the position opening up and Trump getting to nominate the next Justice, the abortion rights community is scared. And rightfully so. As soon as he announced retirement anti-abortion groups started expressing their excitement. They can see the end of Roe v. Wade on the horizon.

History of Justice Kennedy’s Abortion Rights Impact

                Justice Kennedy has been a key figure in abortion rights in the US.  He has frequently been an important swing vote. In cases like the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey he voted to ensure that the principles behind Roe v. Wade were upheld at the state level. This case was specifically important in making sure that the state of Pennsylvania did not inhibit a woman’s access to abortion during the pre-viability period. He also recently helped overturn a law that placed additional regulations on clinics that provide abortion care. Kennedy was not just active in protecting women’s rights. He was also an important vote when it came to issues such as gay rights and the death penalty. When he retired, abortion rights activists nationwide were nervous about who Trump would appoint as his replacement. Optimism was low and keeping with tradition Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative republican who is unlikely to help make positive changes for women’s rights while in office.

Stance of Brett Kavanaugh

If it was anyone other than Trump his words of endorsement labeling Kavanaugh as “one of the finest and sharpest legal minds in our time,” might be reassuring. Yet one can’t help but feel a little added dismay at hearing that the judge is so admired by someone who consistently makes degrading comments about women. Kavanaugh is an experienced judge who has served as an aide to President Bush and was part of the Bill Clinton investigation.  He has a strong history of being involved in partisan cases and Democrats have criticized him in the past for being too partisan. There is a silver lining however. Even Trump is not 100 percent excited about his nomination, mostly due to Kavanaugh’s relationship with the Bush family. His background of working on the Clinton case can be leveraged down the road with the current Trump-Russia investigation. Kavanaugh has ascertained that he will keep an open mind and that his job is not to make law, but rather interpret that which already exists. The media can be hard to decipher lately. There is a general sense of the entire country, both republican and democratic sides wanting to maintain positivity when big decisions are on the horizon, but we can’t help but be a little pessimistic with Trump’s track record. The media has worked hard to paint Kavanaugh in a glowing light, but we can’t help but wonder what changes will come out of this Supreme Court nomination. Like most things with our current administration, time will tell.

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