National Consumers League

National Consumers League deeply concerned about Kavanaugh’s anti-consumer, anti-labor record

July 12, 2018

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The nation’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization today expressed its deep concern about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. According to the National Consumers League (NCL), this is a critical moment in American history where the rights of consumers and workers hang in the balance.

“After reviewing his extensive record, we believe that Judge Kavanaugh is an extremist who is out of step with American values and in conflict with our mission to protect consumers and workers,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “We are particularly concerned about Kavanaugh’s record on crucial healthcare access decisions. We can’t afford as a country to step backwards when it comes to providing care for our nation’s families.” 

On the issues: consumer concerns

Abortion access. Kavanaugh consistently votes to limit access to abortion services. Just last year he dissented from a decision to allow an undocumented pregnant teenager in federal custody access to abortion. Judge Kavanaugh wrote that the majority’s reasoning was “based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand.”

Affordable Care Act. When ruling on Seven-Sky v. Holder, Kavanaugh dissented from the majority opinion on the Affordable Care Act, which upheld its constitutionality.

Contraception coverage. In 2015, Kavanaugh dissented from the Court of Appeals’ decision not to rehear a case upholding an accommodation offered by the Obama Administration on access to contraception for employees of religious organizations.

Net neutrality. Judge Kavanaugh dissented from a full DC Court of Appeals decision on net neutrality. Judge Kavanaugh rejects the idea that Internet providers should remain neutral. His dissent included the following arguments: “The government can no more tell internet service providers what content to carry than it can tell bookstores what books they can sell,” and “The net neutrality rule is unlawful because the law impermissibly infringes on internet service providers’ editorial discretion.”

Hostility towards workers

Limiting collective bargaining. In 2007, Kavanaugh gave the Defense Department a temporary win against its 700,000 civilian workers, represented by a union coalition led by the Government Employees (AFGE). Kavanaugh wrote that the 2004 Bush-era Defense Department law gave Bush’s DOD temporary authority to curb civilian defense workers’ collective bargaining rights. Dissenting justices said Kavanaugh would let the government “abolish collective bargaining altogether.”

Undocumented workers’ right to organize. Kavanaugh, dissenting in a 2008 case involving Agri Processor, Inc., a Brooklyn kosher meat packer, said undocumented workers can’t unionize under the National Labor Relations Act. The appeals court majority said they could. 

Right to picket. In 2015, Kavanaugh gave the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas a win in a fight with union organizers over the right to picket on a public sidewalk. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled they could, under their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and freedom assemble peaceably. The NLRB also tossed out the casino’s claims that the sidewalk, which was temporary due to road construction, was private property. The walk was on the Venetian’s land. “Where employers assert a private property right and ask the police to enforce that right against demonstrators, the employers are ‘seeking redress of wrongs committed against them.’”

“This is the most important Supreme Court vacancy in many years,” said Greenberg. “NCL stands with consumers and workers and with those groups who see the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court as a threat to our values and our mission.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit http://www.nclnet.org.