AFL-CIO Launches Anti-Kavanaigh Ad

Hoping to get voters to convince key senators to reject Brett Kavanaugh, GOP President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, the AFL-CIO launched a media campaign in the states of five key “swing vote” senators.

The campaign, including newspaper ads and ads on media websites, came as the Senate Judiciary Committee opened hearings Sept. 4 – or tried to – on the right-wing judge’s nomination to a vacant seat on the High Court.

The hearings themselves drew controversy, as anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators, along with Democratic senators, frequently protested what they considered a travesty. The demonstrators,70 of whom were arrested on the first day alone, fault Kavanaugh’s opposition to reproductive rights and his nomination by a president whose own lawyer named him an unindicted co-conspirator in a campaign finance payoff and cover-up.

The senators protested they need Kavanaugh’s full record – and time to go through it. Some 140,000 pages of documents, only 7 percent of the total Kavanaugh generated in his government career, were dumped on solons the night before the hearing began.

When it comes to putting Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court, a plurality of Americans don’t want to. And close to a majority of women – 46 percent to be precise – don’t want to, the most recent poll shows.

The last nationwide poll, for CNN in early August, showed 37 percent of respondents backed Kavanaugh, 40 percent didn’t and the rest were undecided. But the score among women was 28 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed and the rest undecided.

The U.S. Senate is another matter.

Opinion polls may not matter to the Senate’s ruling Republicans, or at least to those who have already made up their minds. That’s because whether Kavanaugh, now a 12-year veteran judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. – widely regarded as the nation’s second most-important court – will go on the High Court will be up to the 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and two Democratic-leaning independents in the upper chamber of Congress.

Kavanaugh’s rulings on workers’ rights, reproductive rights, presidential power and accountability and a host of other issues have sent the AFL-CIO and its allies to the barricades and into the streets – from Anchorage, Alaska, to Bangor, Maine — to drive home the point that Kavanaugh would be a hard-right justice willing and ready to overturn current law on all those issues and more.

“Judge Kavanaugh routinely rules against working families, regularly rejects employees’ right to receive employer-provided health care, too often sides with employers in denying employees relief from discrimination in the workplace and promotes overturning well-established U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in announcing labor’s opposition to Kavanaugh.

“The current Supreme Court has shown it will side with greedy corporations over working people whenever given the chance, and this nominee will only skew that further,” he said.

“Working people expect the Supreme Court to be the fairest and most independent branch of government. Any senator who believes Supreme Court justices should protect the rights of all Americans should reject this nomination and demand a nominee who will protect the rights of working people and uphold our constitutional values of liberty, equality and justice for all…We won’t stand for any politician who supports justices who put our rights at risk,” Trumka, who has a law degree, added.

The fed’s “targeted digital ads” are on the websites of leading media in states represented by key senators on the coming vote. “These banner and display ads urge local residents to contact their senator to ask them to vote against Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Readers of the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, Bangor (Maine) Daily News, Indianapolis (Ind.) Star, the Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette and the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald will be able to see these ads on these newspapers’ landing pages.”

Those are the home states of three undecided Democrats: Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), and Republicans Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska). Those three Dems, plus Claire McCaskill (Mo.) seek re-election this fall in states Trump won handily in 2016. Murkowski and Collins say they are pro-choice and concerned about that issue.

“In addition to these ads, the federation is running a video on Facebook and Twitter, highlighting Judge Kavanaugh’s poor record supporting working people,” fed spokesman Gonzalo Salvador said.

“In ruling on a case involving the rights of telephone company employees to wear union T-shirts while they were working, Brett Kavanaugh began his opinion with the observation that ‘common sense sometimes matters in resolving legal disputes.’ But, as the case illustrates, sometimes ‘common sense’ can be a mask for class prejudice,” added Andrew Strom, associate general counsel of SEIU Local 32BJ – the janitors’ section of the Service Employees – in the On Labor legal blog.

Reporting by PAI