Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is an imminent threat to the lives of millions. But so far, the Democrats’ objections have been business-as-usual, and they have avoided rousing popular protests.
With a new majority on the Court, the right-wing justices will be poised not just to overturn women’s reproductive rights, sanction the sadistic treatment of immigrants and continue the restrictions on voting and other civil rights. No social program will be safe. One of their main targets will be the right of workers to join a union. They may well declare sitting presidents to be above the law, allowing Trump to kill the Mueller investigation and giving him and future presidents new dictatorial powers.
Even if every Democratic senator voted “No,” they would still be two votes short of blocking Kavanaugh’s confirmation. But this is no excuse for their restrained campaign, focused on convincing a couple of Senate Republicans to join them in opposition.
The rights that the Republicans want to see overturned by the Court were first won by huge uprisings of struggle. Great waves of strikes and factory occupations by workers in the 1930s won the right to unionize as well as programs like Social Security that were embodied in the New Deal. The post-war Black civil rights struggle won victories in the 1960s and inspired struggles by Latinos, women, LGBT and other oppressed people, along with gains in workplace rights and environmental protections. Massive protests in the streets are now urgently necessary to defend these protections today.
The Senate’s vote on Kavanaugh is expected as early as September 21. Every political figure, union and civil rights leader claiming to be part of the “resistance” to Trump should be called on to mobilize masses in the streets to demand that the Senate back off this right-wing power-grab. On top of the chaos currently engulfing the administration, if the popular opposition to Trump breaks free from the leadership’s sole focus on elections and takes to the streets in massive protest action, that could convince enough senators of the need to halt the process for fear of greater unrest.
A victory through mass protest is obviously not guaranteed. But even if it failed to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation, it would create momentum for mass struggles against the new far-right Court’s next attacks. Mass protests would also provide the opportunity to demand that elected officials pursue the nullification of Trump and the Republicans’ gains on the Federal courts.
Left-wing and socialist groups, unions, civil rights, women’s and LGBT organizations should be called on now to push for the biggest protests possible in Washington and cities around the country.