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.


ACS Statements:

Caroline Fredrickson: President Trump Supreme Court Pick Just Another Step In His Radical Agenda

"Kavanaugh was hand selected by the radical right in this country expressly to target laws, freedoms and protections they have been trying to undo for decades. Now the future of women’s reproductive health, our health care system, workers’ rights, access to the voting booth, environmental safeguards all hang in the balance."

Caroline Fredrickson in Rolling Stone: Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Now What?

“With Kavanaugh, we have someone who has very extreme views on presidential authority...[he] presents very clearly the flexibility on the right when it comes to who is in control of government. When Bill Clinton was president, he believed in a firm check on power and he thought presidents could be indicted, and then as soon as there was a Republican president, he said it was unconstitutional.”
Caroline Fredrickson and Norm Eisen Op-Ed in The Washington Post: Will Kavanaugh Provide Cover for Trump?
"In the coming weeks, the Senate will undertake its constitutional duty to vet Judge Kavanaugh on issues like health care and abortion. But the Senate must also explore a question central to evaluating the judge’s commitment to the rule of law: Does he have the requisite independence from President Trump to serve as a check on his abuses of power?"

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

ACSblog: Evaluating a Supreme Court Nominee by Joel Goldstein

Caroline Fredrickson on Justice Kennedy's Retirement:

" one should think for a minute that Trump’s next pick for the bench won’t be selected expressly for purposes of continuing this tradition and overturning long-held rulings like Roe v. Wade."

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


Upcoming events: 


July 17

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? Join ACS on July 17 at 3:00pm ET for a briefing that will provide an overview of the Janus decision, forecast what’s next for American workers, and place the decision in the larger context of what the decision may mean for other long-established precedents that Americans have come to rely upon, including Roe v. Wade. RSVP here 

Past events: 

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 here. 


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 here. 


Additional Content:

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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