Earlier this month, President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice. Senator Doug Jones has been noncommittal about Kavanaugh saying, “I’m going to take an independent look at this nominee and do what I ultimately believe is in the best interests of my state and my country.”
This should not be a difficult decision for Senator Jones. Judge Kavanaugh is an extremely distinguished jurist in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Neil Gorsuch. He has served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for more than a decade, establishing a reputation for being principled and fair. In his time on the bench, he has ruled wisely in major cases involving the protection of life and freedom of conscience.
Dissenting from the majority in Garza v. Hargan, Kavanaugh rejected the ACLU’s attempt to create a radical, new constitutional right to abortion on demand for illegal immigrant children in federal custody and stood up for the administration’s “permissible interest in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion.”
In another case, Priests for Life v. HHS, Kavanaugh defended a pro-life religious organization from the Obama administration’s unconstitutional mandate forcing them to provide abortifacient drugs in their health plans.
These issues matter immensely to the pro-life voters of Alabama, who showed their trust in President Trump by electing him by almost a 30-point margin in 2016. Two years later, 63 percent of Alabamians approve of the job President Trump is doing. Another recent poll found that 53 percent of Alabama voters think President Trump has chosen well-qualified judges for the Supreme Court. They see the president delivering on his promises.
Can the same be said about Senator Jones? He was supposed to be a moderate – encouraging his Senate colleagues to “rise above partisan politics and find consensus” – but he already made a big mistake in January when he voted to keep late-term abortions legal. Only seven nations – including North Korea and China – allow abortion on demand through birth, making U.S. abortion laws some of the most permissive in the world.
The federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act or “Micah’s Law” would have protected as many as 18,000 unborn children a year from late-term abortion after five months of pregnancy – a point by which science shows they can feel pain. Alabama is one of twenty states that have already enacted this popular legislation (and has been since 2011).
Instead of representing the views of his own constituents, who are strongly pro-life, Senator Jones sided with the radical abortion lobby and extremists in his party to block that compassionate bill. It is a permanent blot on his record. The least he can do now is to vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice who won’t try to negate the will of the American people by legislating from the bench. That is clearly what Alabama voters want; 54 percent agree that the Senate should confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
Ever since Jones was elected, political commentators have pegged the Democrat senator from deep red country as the man to watch on everything from the budget to immigration. Would he respect his constituents and walk the fine line of moderation? A University of Alabama professor outlined a strategy for Jones: side with Republicans just often enough, when the outcome doesn’t matter, and the voters will “give him a pass.”
2020 is not as far away as it may seem, and on issues as important as the protection of innocent human lives and the future of the Supreme Court, it’s insulting to expect the voters to give Senator Jones a pass. He should stand with President Trump and his constituents, and do the right thing by voting to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.
Terry Lathan is chair of the Alabama Republican Party. Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.