Whereas the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn (“LID”) finds that:
1. Justice Anthony Kennedy has played a moderating role on the Supreme Court; while a portion of his jurisprudence may not be regarded as progressive victories, he has consistently played a pivotal role in securing rights for LGBTQ persons, including cases such as Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor, and Obergefell v. Hodges.
2. The President of the United States has chosen Judge Brett Kavanaugh (“Kavanaugh”) to fill the vacancy created by Justice Kennedy's retirement. Kavanaugh has been vigorously supported by numerous antiLGBTQ organizations including the Family Research Council. He has dissented from opinions upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), writing that requiring religious organizations to submit a form objecting to providing coverage "significantly burdened" the free exercise of religion. Recently, in Garza v. Hargan, Kavanaugh tried to prevent an undocumented minor in federal custody from exercising her right to reproductive healthcare. Kavanaugh also worked in numerous high level positions for the George W. Bush administration and used equal marriage rights for same-sex people as a wedge to divide communities and drive turnout of anti-equality voters, including the placement of state ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage and two attempts to amend the US Constitution. Kavanaugh's record demonstrates an extreme disdain for marginalized and working Americans, to include women, LGBTQ persons and people of color.
3. Currently, federal courts are grappling with issues effecting the LGBTQ community, including whether or not federal education laws protect transgender students and their access to education. Additionally, federal courts have held that U.S. refugee and asylum laws protect LGBTQ individuals fleeing violence and persecution in their home nations: protections which the President has already sought to weaken. These issues will inevitably be heard by the Supreme Court, where there is no indication that Kavanaugh will uphold laws protecting the most at-risk in our community.
4. States across the country are gradually diminishing the hard-fought rights that LGBTQ people have gained, in addition to the right for women to seek abortions afforded by Roe. In New York, a decision overturning Obergefell could mean that religiously-affiliated healthcare institutions may decline to recognize a valid and legal same-sex marriage, denying loved ones access to their partners at critical and sensitive times. Additionally, a decision to overturn or limit Roe, without action by the New York State Legislature, would return New York to a 1970 law prohibiting access to abortions after 24-weeks unless the life of the mother is in jeopardy.
5. Assembly Member Deborah Glick, the first openly LGBTQ member of the New York State legislature, has introduced the Reproductive Health Act (A-0748), which codifies the protections conferred by Roe in the event it is dismantled by a conservative Supreme Court. The legislation is co-sponsored by LID endorsed Assembly Members Rodneyse Bichotte, Robert Carroll, and JoAnne Simon, among others. In the Senate, a version of Assembly Member Glick's legislation has been introduced (S-0276) by Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. It is co-sponsored by LID-endorsed Senators Brian Kavanagh, Kevin Parker and Velmanette Mongomery, among others. However, the Senate Republican majority has not taken up the legislation for a vote. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon have both indicated their support for the legislation.
6. Additionally, the President and his 2016 campaign are under a direct investigation for their potential involvement in Russian interference with the 2016 presidential campaign, among other potential crimes. The Supreme Court may be expected to address critical questions effecting the investigation, up to and including the question of whether or not the President can be indicted and arrested.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
1. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are urged to, along with their Democratic colleagues, deny the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and are further urged to withhold the confirmation of any nominee until such a time when the investigation in to the President is complete and the current Supreme Court has decided on any pending matters.
2. The New York State Senate is urged to reconvene immediately to consider and pass S-0276.