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Five facts you need to know about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this Labor Day weekend

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The next Supreme Court justice will have enormous power over the future of not only public school students and educators, but American workers. Just this past term, the Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME ruled against workers’ rights and strong unions. It was a 5-4 decision.

Days after the ruling, special interest groups mobilized to take the Janus decision even further. Well-funded by corporations and billionaires, the groups have filed a litany of lawsuits across the country to challenge collective bargaining and unions’ exclusive representation of public sector workers. Groups have filed these cases in an explicit attempt to quickly advance to the Supreme Court.

The impact that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, can have on public schools and American workers, if approved by the U.S. Senate in the coming days, will last for generations to come.

Americans want a Supreme Court justice who will be a fair-minded constitutionalist and who will apply the law fairly and protect our rights. It is important now more than ever that the next Supreme Court nominee understands how the law impacts real people and will work to protect all Americans, not just corporations, the wealthy, and the powerful.

Here are five quick facts about Brett Kavanaugh:

  1. Kavanaugh has Consistently Sided with Corporations and Employers over Workers

The Heritage Foundation approved Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination because he could be trusted to advance their plans. Kavanaugh has consistently sided with corporations and employers over workers and unions, and applies different legal rules depending on the outcome he seeks. He has disregarded the deferential standard of review for National Labor Relations Board decisions when the board upholds workers’ rights, but hides behind the standard when the Board’s decisions are unfavorable to workers.

Kavanaugh also once reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of unions for civilian employees of the Department of Defense, and held that a statute authorizing the Secretary of Defense to create a temporary labor relations subsystem empowered him to abolish collective bargaining altogether. This was an unpopular position with which even the Secretary at the time disagreed.

Kavanaugh’s record shows that he will continue to support the attack on the rights of working families most recently felt in the Janus Supreme Court ruling. Appointing Kavanaugh to the Court would tip the balance, making it even more anti-labor and more difficult for educators to advocate for better wages, working conditions, and resources for their students.

2. From Private Schools to Writing the Starr Report to Working in the White House

Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Preparatory School, a Catholic school in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and then Yale University. He later went on to become a principal author of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s controversial and highly-politicized report to Congress involving President Bill Clinton. After Starr, Kavanaugh worked as a senior aide to President George W. Bush, where he had a key role in developing that administration’s wiretapping and torture policies. In 2003, Bush nominated him to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, though he was not confirmed until 2006. Few Supreme Court nominees in modern history have as extensive a history in partisan politics as Judge Kavanaugh.

3. Handpicked by Heritage

The Heritage Foundation, a corporate-funded organization who is a major supporter of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos – and a group which DeVos has supported financially for decadesvetted and approved Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Their objective has been no secret: Select a justice who will support an agenda to privatize public schools and push a voucher system that will divert tax payers’ dollars away from public schools to fund private ones; to strip protections for people with pre-existing conditions in health care while trying to end Medicare and Medicaid; and strive to weaken workers’ rights and to silence their voices in the workplaces.

4. Should School Vouchers be a Constitutional Right? Kavanaugh Thinks So. DeVos Too.

Kavanaugh has signaled that he would recognize legal theories that would lead to a proliferation of vouchers, the centerpiece of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s agenda, who intends to withdraw funding from students in public schools and give it to private schools through vouchers.

Kavanaugh has praised a line of Supreme Court rulings that have allowed public money to be funneled into religious institutions, stating that Justice Rehnquist was successful in “ensuring that religious schools and religious institutions could participate as equals in society and in state benefits programs, receiving funding or benefits from the state so long as the funding was pursuant to a neutral program that, among other things, included religious and nonreligious institutions alike.”

Kavanaugh’s nomination has been decried by pro-public education groups, including NEA, which predict that the 53-year-old could tip the balance for generations on Court decisions of critical importance to public school students and families. “This is exactly why Judge Kavanaugh can’t be trusted to protect the interests of students and educators,” said NEA Presdient Lily Eskelsen García.

5. Kavanaugh Will Likely Rule Against Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

In line with the Heritage Foundation’s goals, Kavanaugh has signaled that he would find unconstitutional the individual mandate and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, putting the health care of millions at risk. Kavanaugh dissented in two Affordable Care Act cases that signaled he would agree with the Justice Department’s current anti-healthcare theory on pre-existing conditions.

In Kavanaugh’s dissent in Seven-Sky v. Holder, he claimed that a future president “might not enforce the individual mandate provision if the president concludes that enforcing it would be unconstitutional” because “[u]nder the Constitution, the president may decline to enforce a statute that regulates private individuals when the president deems the statute unconstitutional, even if a court has held or would hold the statute constitutional.”

After a thorough review of his record, the National Education Association is urging Senators to stand with educators and their students by rejecting Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Take action: Tell your senators to oppose Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court

3 responses to “Five facts you need to know about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this Labor Day weekend

  1. With all the negative things that are facts about Kavanaugh and Trump and members of Congress, I have decided that I will NEVER vote for a Republican again. NEVER!

    1. The fact that this organization supports abortion providers and Democrat candidates who in turn support abortion, is ironic. After all, the fewer children there are means that fewer teachers will be needed. As a public school teacher for 26 years I wish this organization, the NEA and its state subsidiaries, would call for true constitutional governance from the national government and support the principle of federalism that the framers of the Constitution wisely implemented. Instead of looking to court nominees and political candidates for favorable rulings and legislation, you should make persuasive arguments for public schooling locally. I wonder how many members of this organization have actually studied the document that establishes the rule of law and system/organization of government. The national government is not delegated any power or control over education at all. This is the wisdom of federalism; that people may govern themselves and a state may tailor its education system however it chooses with the consent of the governed in that state. A person’s vote has greater effect and impact locally than nationally. Justice Joseph Story once said, “The states are the laboratories of democracy.” Remember, policy from Washington, D.C. is one-size-fits-all no matter how grotesque that “fitting.” I notice that you NEA members criticize and campaign against Republican candidates, who when elected and in power, exercise the power that Democrat candidates created. That unconstitutional power that violates the rule of law. Senator Harry Reid’s decision as the Senate Majority Leader to disallow the filibuster on federal court nominees worked for their interests while his party was in power. the creation of paradigm-shifting and expansionary powers benefit whichever party gains power. Now the Democrats are trying to destroy, or at least “muddy-the-water” with Judge Kavanaugh. They have no other tactic to use except personal character attacks. That “high tech lynching,” as Justice Thomas stated in his confirmation hearing in the 1990s In fact, if NEA members were to actually read the Antifederalist and Federalist Papers, particularly number 78 of each respectively. you would learn that even eisegeticist Alexander Hamilton wrote “the Judiciary would be the least dangerous branch.” Power, once installed or established, may be used either way for whichever party wins control. Limiting power means that an adversary cannot wield something that does not exist. How hard can it be to understand?

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