Groups Mobilize For Supreme Court Nominee Battle

Jul 10, 2018

National groups both for and against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are pouring money into ads. And progressive groups, saying they could be outspent, are embarking on a mass mobilization they believe will prove more fruitful than money. One of the progressive groups is focused on New York.

During a press call Tuesday, progressive groups, led by NARAL Pro-Choice America, discussed their mobilization against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Ilyse Hogue is NARAL president.

“Starting today, we are pouring thousands of calls into all 100 Senate offices and we are up immediately with a six-figure ad buy in Alaska, Maine, Colorado, Nevada and Texas, urging the Republican senators in those states to oppose Brett Kavanaugh,” Hogue says.

Oppose him, says Hogue, to preserve Roe v. Wade and not see abortion criminalized. Brian Fallon is executive director of Demand Justice. 

“For Demand Justice’s part, we were founded two months ago to help try to mitigate the long-term spending advantage that the right has had when it comes to these judicial confirmation fights,” Fallon says. “Judicial Crisis Network, the far right group that traditionally swoops in whenever there’s a judicial vacancy, has already said that they’re planning to spend $10 million on television ads to try to pressure our red state Democrats to fall in line and support Trump’s nominee.”

Fallon says his group has committed $5 million, and the fight against confirming Kavanaugh will be won on the ground, via mobilization. The Judicial Crisis Network is launching “Confirm Brett Kavanaugh,” a $1.4 million ad buy on national cable and digital in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia. Again, Hogue.

“We do not need to match Judicial Crisis Network dollar for dollar. And the reason we don’t need to is because they spend that much money because they don’t have the American people on their side,” says Hogue. “We will spend money on ads but we will also spend money on mobilization to make sure that the vast majority of American people who want Brett Kavanaugh blocked, who want their senators to do their jobs, who want abortion to remain safe and legal, who want their health care, and who want this president not to be above the law have a platform by which to make their voice heard.”

Leah Greenberg is co-executive director of Indivisible. Her group is focusing on holding events outside the offices of two Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and Susan Collins in Maine. Meantime, she says, there is work in New York.

“We’re working closely with the Indivisible groups of New York who are pressuring Senator Schumer to hold his caucus together, recognizing that we lost three votes on Gorsuch, and we can’t lose a single Democratic vote in this time,” Greenberg says.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer spoke during a Democratic press conference Tuesday.

“I’m going to fight this nomination with everything I’ve got,” Schumer says. “The American people must join us and speak loudly, clearly and now.”

Jeanne Mancini is president of March for Life. She considers Kavanaugh a strong nominee and says her organization will work to assure that he has a fair confirmation process.

“What we’re hoping for is a judge who will be true to the Constitution, a judge, again, who’s not going to legislate from the bench,” Mancini says. “But, what I do not think is up for grabs here is Roe v. Wade, and I think it’s fascinating that it’s coming down to that. And, in my heart of hearts, I think it’s a bunch of fear mongering.”

Tiffany Muller is president of End Citizens United, which aims to reform campaign finance.

“And right now we’re also announcing a half-a-million-dollar ad buy to continue to get more and more folks to contact all of their senators to oppose this nominee. We can win this. This fight is different than any nomination fight in recent history, and a swing vote is on the line,” Muller says. “People understand that issues they really care about are at risk. And we blocked the health care repeal, and the math is even better for us now. And as long as we all mobilize our members, we can win this.”

Family Research Council Vice President of Policy Travis Weber says Judge Kavanaugh is a true originalist and will look to educate the public on this.

“Opponents of Judge Kavanaugh want to preserve the current, more activist makeup of the court,   and they’re looking at this as a matter of preserving their preferred policies on the court instead of saying, how should the Constitution be interpreted,” Weber says. “And, in that respect, it’s very important that we confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

NARAL is coordinating a day of action on Women’s Equality Day, August 26, with rallies across the country.