The approval process for Donald Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is finally underway. Though democrats in congress tried to delay the process, as republicans did with Barack Obama’s nominee, the Senate Judiciary Committee began its review and questioning of Kavanaugh this week and some exchanges took place yesterday concerning LGBTQ Americans.
When Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) addressed Kavanaugh, she said: “My question is very specific. Can you comment on your personal opinion on whether Obergefell was correctly decided. It’s a yes or no. Please.”
Harris was, of course, referring to the case Obergefell v. Hodges, which made its way to the Supreme Court and resulted in marriage equality becoming the law of the land in 2015.
Kavanaugh ignored Harris’ prompt for a yes or no answer and instead talked around the question. “In Masterpiece Cakeshop, which I think is relevant to your question, Justice Kennedy wrote in a majority opinion: ‘The days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans or treating gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth are over,” he said.
“Are over. Do you agree with that statement?” asked Harris.
“That is the precedent of the Supreme Court agreed with by –“
Interjecting, Harris attempted to have Kavanaugh answer with his personal, formed opinion on the matter but was met with more citing of precedent.
I asked Brett Kavanaugh a very specific question: does he believe the case that made marriage equality the law of the land was correctly decided?
He refused to answer. pic.twitter.com/FO6kCLmk2f
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 7, 2018
Kavanaugh gave similar vague, impersonal responses when questioned by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) when addressing the very real fear that LGBTQ American have of being unjustly fired from their jobs if employers find out they’re gay. “I guess you’re not willing to tell me whether you personally, morally think that’s right or wrong,” said Booker.
“I’m a judge and therefore with the cases that you’re well aware of pending about the scope of the civil rights laws, the employment discrimination laws –“
Booker interrupted the attempted runaround and then asked if Kavanaugh had any involvement in former president George W. Bush’s effort to support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage during his presidency, during which Kavanaugh was staff secretary. “I don’t recall,” said Kavanaugh, then saying that since 2004 there had been a “sea change in attitudes” in the United States. Watch, below.