September 4, 2018 – WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Senate begins confirmation hearings for a key position on the United States Supreme Court. Given what is at stake with this lifetime appointment to our highest court, the Center for Medicare Advocacy remains greatly concerned about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. As a public interest law organization committed to fair access to quality health care, equal rights for all as we age, and due process, the Center has serious reservations about this nomination.
Judge Kavanaugh’s lengthy record on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals does not bode well for the millions of families who rely on critical health care programs and our Constitutional form of government. For example, in Seven-Sky v. Holder, 661 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2011), Judge Kavanaugh dissented in a 2-1 decision that affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, maintaining that the challenge against the Act could not be heard before the individual mandate’s tax penalties took effect. Just as concerning, Judge Kavanaugh stated in his decision, “the President may decline to enforce a statute that regulates private individuals when the President deems the statute unconstitutional, even if a court has held or would hold the statute constitutional.” 661 F.3d at 50 n.43. This statement raises serious concerns about Judge Kavanaugh’s commitment to ensuring the judiciary continues to serve as an equal branch of government to the executive branch, and as a check and balance to the President.
Further, as the NAACP noted in a statement opposing the nomination, “He has been a strong and consistent voice for the wealthy and the powerful. Over and over again, he has ruled against civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer rights, and women’s rights.”
The Supreme Court will decide myriad important cases in the years ahead, impacting the well-being of the country’s most vulnerable citizens and residents. It is critical that judicial nominees – especially those to our highest court – are committed to protecting and enhancing access to quality health care, not to advancing powerful and corporate interests.
“We are living in a time where access to justice, essential health care benefits and civil rights are under attack,” says Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. “There has been a sustained effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act, privatize Medicare, and decimate Medicaid. Low-income people have found it increasingly difficult to have their cases heard in federal courts. The Supreme Court must stand apart, as a trusted, fair arbiter of individual and societal rights. Regrettably, Judge Kavanaugh’s record does not warrant that trust and his presence on the Court will significantly impact social justice for generations to come.”
As advocates for older adults and disabled people, we oppose any threats – legislative, executive or judicial – to Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and due process of law. Thus, the Center for Medicare Advocacy must also oppose this nomination.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., established in 1986, is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan law organization that provides education, advocacy, analysis and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain fair access to Medicare and quality health care. We focus on the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, people with chronic conditions, and those in need of long-term care. The organization is involved in writing, education, and advocacy of importance to Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. The Center is headquartered in Connecticut and Washington, DC, with offices throughout the country.