October 10, 2018
Contact: Laura M. Flegel
NELA Legislative & Public Policy Director
(202) 898-2880 x.115
Statement Of NELA Executive Director, Terry O’Neill
On The Confirmation Of Brett Kavanaugh To The United States Supreme Court
As lawyers, we are officers of the court. We take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of the state in which we practice. We know there is no sugar-coating the ascent of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. His confirmation represents the Senate majority’s betrayal of workers, women, those who rely on the Affordable Care Act to access health care for themselves and their families, and of the foundational right to vote. Perhaps most of all, Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation represents a betrayal of the Senate’s duty to protect, through the confirmation process, the integrity of the Supreme Court itself. As lawyers, as officers of the court, and members of the National Employment Lawyers Association, we will find productive responses to this travesty.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation process was the most corrupt in recent history. Working hand in glove with the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) trashed the Senate’s constitutional duty of “advice and consent” for judicial nominations. In sharp contrast to the production of 99 percent of Elena Kagan’s records when Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, the White House and Senate leaders forced a vote on Kavanaugh without allowing senators access to over 90 percent of documents that would have provided a complete picture of the nominee. Worse, what limited information was made available showed that Kavanaugh repeatedly lied under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee. An FBI investigation into credible allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted several women was a sham. Agents questioned fewer than a dozen people, while failing to interview dozens thought to have relevant information. The Bureau did not even interview either Dr. Christine Blasey Ford or Brett Kavanaugh.
I can’t adequately say how grateful I am that NELA members stepped up to #StopKavanaugh. We contacted our senators, with messaging tailored to each of them, by phone, fax, and online. We visited their offices in person. We wrote op-eds and letters to the editor. We reached out to friends, family, our communities, and followers on social media.
For many, it feels crushing that we lost the Kavanaugh fight. The important point, though, is that we fought. We fought together, we worked collectively and effectively and we grew in strength and numbers. We will fight again. To paraphrase Dr. Brittney Cooper, we will use the clarity that comes from our devotion to justice and our outrage against injustice, to continue to build the world we want and deserve.
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The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) advances employee rights and serves lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace. NELA provides assistance and support to lawyers in protecting the rights of employees against the greater resources of their employers and the defense bar. It is the country’s largest professional organization exclusively comprised of lawyers who represent individual employees in cases involving employment discrimination and other employment-related matters. NELA and its 69 circuit, state, and local Affiliates have more than 4,000 members around the country.