Trump SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh was questioned yesterday about marriage equality and the Obergefell ruling as well as his opinion of same-sex marriage in general.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked Kavanaugh: “My question is very specific. Can you comment on your personal opinion on whether Obergefell was correctly decided. It’s a yes or no. Please.”
Kavanaugh completely dodged and moved to the recent case decided in favor of anti-gay baker Jack Phillips: “In Masterpiece Cakeshop, which I think is relevant to your question, Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion: ‘The days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans or treating gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth are over.’
Said Harris: “Are over. Do you agree with that statement?”
Replied Kavanaugh: “That is the precedent the Supreme Court agreed with by…”
Interjected Harris: “Sir, I’m asking your opinion. You’re the nominee right now and so it is probative of your ability to serve on the highest court in our land so I asking you a very specific question. Either you’re willing to answer it or not and if you’re not willing to answer it we can move on. Do you believe Obergefell was correctly decided?”
Stuttered Kavanaugh: “Each of the justices have declined as a matter of judicial independence to answer questions in that line of cases. Following the precedent set in that line of cases, they’ve all declined.”
I asked Brett Kavanaugh a very specific question: does he believe the case that made marriage equality the law of the land was correctly decided?
He refused to answer. pic.twitter.com/FO6kCLmk2f
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) September 7, 2018
Kavanaugh was later questioned by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) who told Kavanaugh: “I think there are a lot of folks who have real concerns that if you get on the court folks who are married right now really have a fear that they will not be able to continue those marital bonds. We still have a country where if you post your Facebook pictures up of your marriage to someone of the same-sex we still have a majority of states where that employer of yours finds out that you had a gay marriage and that you’re gay in a majority of American states you can fire somebody because they’re gay, and I guess you’re not willing to tell me whether you personally, morally think that’s right or wrong.”
Replied Kavanaugh: “I’m a judge and therefore with the cases that you’re well aware of pending about the scope of the civil rights laws, the employment discrimination laws…”
Said Booker: “That’s what I want to get to the point. That you won’t give me a moral answer because of the pending cases….so maybe I can ask you about your concern when you were in the Bush White House. Did you have any involvement in Bush’s effort to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage?”
Kavanaugh replied: “When I was in the White House that was part of the uh, something that he talked about. Of course at that point in time….”
Interjected Booker: “Did you express an opinion about it then yourself?”
Said Kavanaugh: “As staff secretary things related to that, speeches he gave would have crossed my desk, as I have discussed before…”
Booker: “I am not privy to your documents at that time. Did you ever express your opinions about same-sex marriage, in those documents that will one day come out…”
Kavanaugh: “I don’t recall. Of course at that time, as you’re well aware senator, there’s been a sea change in attitudes in the United States of America, even since 2004 as you’re well aware.”
Replied Booker: “But you’re opinion. I don’t need Obama, Cheney, just, will you express to me your opinion on same-sex marriage.”
Said Kavanaugh: “I don’t recall…”
Booker: “I’m not asking your opinion then, I’m asking your opinion NOW. Do you recall your opinion NOW on same-sex marriage.”
Stuttered Kavanaugh: “Well the Supreme Court in Obergefell.”
Replied Booker: “Sir, your opinion. Maybe I didn’t get the record. I don’t know if you’ve conducted gay marriages. I don’t know if you’ve been to gay marriages.”
Said Kavanaugh: “I’m a judge, I apply the law.”
Snapped Booker: “Have you conducted a gay marriage? Presided over one? Officiated a gay marriage?
Said Kavanaugh: “I have not.”
Booker: “But you don’t want to tell me your opinion on that issue?”
Said Kavanaugh: “I apply the law.”
The Human Rights Campaign blasted Kavanaugh following Harris’s questioning.
Said HRC President Chad Griffin: “Brett Kavanaugh’s refusal to answer very basic, very direct questions about the Supreme Court’s historic ruling bringing marriage equality nationwide is alarming and completely unacceptable. The Obergefell decision is settled law. If this nominee cannot so much as affirm that or the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and our families, he should not and must not be granted a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.”