Supreme Court Vacancy Toolkit

On July 9, President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Read a brief summary on Kavanaugh here.

President Trump has a radical far right agenda that is completely out of touch with the American mainstream; Brett Kavanaugh will be just another step forward in pressing that agenda.

Don't fall for empty statements from Kavanaugh that he will follow settled law or make rulings based on the merits of cases before him. As the President's nominee for the Court, Kavanaugh has met the President's litmus test and will expressly target laws, freedoms, and protections that the radical far right has been trying to undo for decades. And based on his record, we know that Kavanaugh will:

  • Threaten Roe v. Wade and the fundamental right of women to protect their bodies by ensuring access to safe and legal abortion
  • Exacerbate the Supreme Court's trend of favoring big corporations
  • Allow Donald Trump's abuses of power to go unchecked.
Ready to act?

7 Ways to Protect the Supreme Court

Media Outreach Guide - How to secure radio and television interviews and write impactful Op-Eds and LTEs.

Listen to ACS Experts:

The Road from Janus to Roe: What the Supreme Court’s Disregard of Precedent Could Mean for All of Us

On July 17, ACS held a briefing call reviewing the Janus decision, discussing what's next for American workers, and break down what the decision may mean for other long-established precedents that Americans have come to rely upon, including Roe v. Wade. Hours before Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Janus v. AFSCME, overturning a 40-year-old precedent that had served as the bedrock of American labor law and demonstrating what Justice Kagan described in her dissent as “little regard for the usual principles of stare decisis.” What does this disregard for stare decisis mean as we evaluate President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee? Listen to the recording here.

The Special Counsel, Executive Power, and the Next Supreme Court Nominee

On July 12, the American Constitution Society held a briefing addressing the legality of the special counsel’s investigation, the constitutional scope of executive power, and how to thoroughly question the nominee’s views on these subjects. As the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election continues, its critics have levied a number of constitutional claims against it that are highly disputed, increasing the likelihood that the Supreme Court will ultimately have to resolve such legal disagreements. Questions of executive power therefore must play a central role in the evaluation of the qualifications and suitability of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Listen to the recording here.

Supreme Court Nominee: What's Next? 

On July 10, ACS hosted a discussion of the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. With this nomination, just about every issue we care about is at stake – reproductive freedom, access to health care, immigration, voting rights, workers' rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental protections – to name a few. Kavanaugh's nomination has the potential to shift the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence for at least a generation. As the real debate begins, we must demand a transparent nominations process so that the public can fully assess the nominee, and Senators can carry out their constitutional role to advise and consent. Listen to the recording here.


What Should Happen at Kavanaugh's Hearing?

The Los Angeles Times: The Senate can demand answers from Brett Kavanaugh. If he isn't honest, he shouldn't be confirmed by Erwin Chemerinsky, ACS Board member

WBUR: How Badly Does The GOP Want Kavanaugh? So Much That They'll Ignore Trump's Treason by Kent Greenfield, ACS Faculty Advisor at Boston College Law School

The New York Times: How Will We Know What a Supreme Court Nominee Really Thinks? by Linda Greenhouse, ACS Board of Advisors member

The Washington Post: Kavanaugh faces a tougher path to confirmation than Gorsuch. Here’s why. by Ronald Klain, ACS Board of Advisors member

ACSblog: Questions for Judge Kavanaugh on his Disqualification from Certain Cases Involving the Powers and Immunities of the President by Alan Neff

The New York Times: Will Kavanaugh Provide Cover for Trump? by Caroline Fredrickson, ACS President and Norm Eisen, Co-Founder, CREW

Huffington PostIt’s Now Up To Senate Moderates To Save The Supreme Court by Geoffrey Stone, ACS Board of Advisors member

ACSblog: Yale Law Students Speak Out on Judge Kavanaugh by Cara Reichard, Co-President, Yale Law School ACS Chapter

ABA Journal: Chemerinsky: Conservatives' victories in key cases are a harbinger of what is to come by Erwin Chemerinsky, ACS Board member

The Sacramento Bee: If you think the Supreme Court is conservative now, just wait for Kennedy’s retirement by Erwin Chemerinsky, ACS Board member

The New York TimesHow Will We Know What a Supreme Court Nominee Really Thinks? by Linda Greenhouse, ACS Board of Advisors member

The Register-Herald: Before Kavanaugh vote, a refresher by Simon F. Haeder

ACSblog: Evaluating a Supreme Court Nominee by Joel Goldstein


Document Fight

USA Today: Would Brett Kavanaugh be a check on Trump if he tried to abuse his power? We need to know. by Caroline Fredrickson and Norm Eisen

The Washington Post: Republicans are obstructing a fair vetting of Brett Kavanaugh by John Podesta and Todd Stern

The Washington Post: Here’s who should demand to see Kavanaugh’s White House paper trail by Ron Klain, ACS Board member


What Does It Mean to Call Kavanaugh an Originalist?

PoliticoWhy You Shouldn’t Care Whether Kavanaugh Is an ‘Originalist’ by Aziz Huq

The Daily Beast: Dems Need to Pin Brett Kavanaugh on Which Constitution He Supports by Geoffrey R. Stone, ACS Board member

St. Louis Post Dispatch: The people's court and the people's rights by Gregory Magarian, ACS Faculty Advisor at Washington University School of Law

Tulsa World: Plain talk about 'plain meaning' by Tamara Piety, ACS Faculty Advisor at University of Tulsa College of Law


Kavanaugh is a Threat to Reproductive Rights

The Boston GlobeBrett Kavanaugh’s record makes his antiabortion stance clear by Nancy Gertner, ACS Board member and Senior Lecturer on Law, Harvard University

The HillYes, things can get worse — especially with Justice Kavanaugh, Michelle Goodwin

New York Magazine: A 2017 Kavanaugh Speech Will Become a Flash Point in Confirmation Fight, Ed Kilgore

The Daily Beast: Here’s What Life Was Like for Women in America Before ‘Roe’ by Geoffrey Stone, ACS Board of Advisors member

ACSblog: Stakes Couldn't Be Higher With Court Selection by John Hamilton, Mayor of Bloomington, IN and Dawn Johnsen, Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law at Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Bangor Daily NewsAny Supreme Court justice must affirm our personal liberty by Andrea L. Irwin


Will Kavanaugh Help Conservatives Overturn the ACA? 

CNN: Kavanaugh's Obamacare rulings under microscope as he meets Manchin by Joan Biskupic

Indianapolis Star: Affordable Care Act helps consumers by Liane Hulka,

The NWI Times: Kavanaugh hazardous to Hoosiers' health by Fran Quigley

The Journal Gazette: Threat to Obamacare should disqualify Kavanaugh by Fran Quigley

Charleston Gazette-MailHealth care, lives will be affected by Supreme Court choice by Jennifer D. Oliva

Charleston Gazette-MailBefore Kavanaugh votes, senators must think of WV's wellbeing, health by Simon F. Haeder

Knox NewsKavanaugh confirmation could devastate Americans with pre-existing conditions by Michele Johnson


Kavanaugh's Threat to Separation of Powers

ACSblog: Judge Kavanaugh on Separation of Powers by Carolyn Shapiro

NPRWhat A Justice Kavanaugh Could Mean For The Mueller Investigation And Trump by Nina Totenberg, quoting Victoria Nourse and Steve Vladeck

ACSblog: Congress Should Be Concerned That Brett Kavanaugh Wants to Further Restrict Its Power by Dan Froomkin

ACSblog: The Special Counsel, Morrison v. Olson, and the Dangerous Implications of the Unitary Executive Theory by Victoria Nourse

Slate: Brett Kavanaugh’s Legal Opinions Show He’d Give Donald Trump Unprecedented New Powers by Jed Shugerman

Huffington Post: It’s Too Late For The Supreme Court, But Lower Courts Can Still Check Trump by Nancy Gertner, ACS Board member and Senior Lecturer on Law, Harvard University

Billings Gazette: Guest view: Kavanaugh will keep Trump's legacy alive for decades by James C. Nelson, Montana Supreme Court Justice (Ret.)


How Will Kavanaugh Treat Workers?

SlateBrett Kavanaugh Has His Own “Frozen Trucker” Case by Terri Gerstein, ACS State AG Project Advisory Committee

The Las Vegas Sun: Supreme Court nominee doesn't respect precedent by Ruben Garcia, ACS Board member

This piece was featured on SCOTUSblog

ACSblog: Judge Kavanaugh’s Dissent in OSHA Case Reflects Deep Skepticism Toward Federal Agency Enforcement of Workplace Protections by Ruben Garcia, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research and Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law


How will Kavanaugh affect LGBTQ rights?

The New York Times: Without Kennedy, the Future of Gay Rights Is Fragile by Adam Winkler, ACS Board member, and Kent Greenfield, ACS Faculty Advisor at Boston College Law School


What are Kavanaugh's views on the 2nd Amendment? 

The Sacramento BeeSupreme Court nominee Kavanaugh’s gun views are clear by Michael Kunzelman and Larry Neumeister