We have all heard the old adage, “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Therefore, when President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the recently vacated Supreme Court Justice seat, I immediately assumed the worst. Unfortunately, it did not take much research to prove my assumptions right. Brett Kavanaugh has an elitist background, a history of supporting the far right, and will be an advocate toward Betsy DeVos’ hideous education agenda.
So who is Brett Kavanaugh? Kavanaugh is a conservative judge whose connection to the White House stems back to having worked for both Jeb and President George W. Bush. Currently serving as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, he attended a distinguished private high school in D.C. Coincidentally, it’s the same prep school where Republican Justice Neil Gorsuch, which was Trump’s first Supreme Court Justice pick. Kavanaugh went on to attend Yale for both his undergraduate and law school studies. No one can argue that he does not have a prestigious background, though many believe that this has led to an elitist disconnect to average citizens.
With so many key issues regarding education going all the way to the Supreme Court, many are concerned about how he would vote if his nomination is confirmed by the Senate. Using a Judicial Common Space score (a criteria used to predict how judges will favor in court cases), Kavanaugh would fair almost as far right as Clarence Thomas, and in complete opposite of Obama’s appointee Sonia Sotomayor.
According to the Washington Post, Kavanaugh has defended the use of taxpayer money for use in private and religious schools. This would be in alignment with Betsy DeVos’s plans to implement a voucher program and incorporate religious education in our schools. Given his Catholic school background and his work in supporting private religious schools, it is clear that Betsy DeVos has found another legal ally for her agenda. Additionally, Kavanaugh represented then-Governor Jeb Bush in his attempt to implement a school voucher program. The case made its all the way to the Florida’s Supreme Court where it was eventually struck down. It is clear that Brett Kavanaugh supports draining public funds from our schools.
The separation between church and state is already becoming blurry. Just last year, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the Supreme Court ruled that religious institutions may not be excluded from state programs. In this case, it was the resurfacing of school playgrounds. However, this may have significant ripple effects as it sets a precedent for religious schools to have access to public funds. As Sonia Sotomayor stated in her dissent, ““[t]he Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church.” She added, “Today’s decision discounts centuries of history and jeopardizes the government’s ability to remain secular.”
The appointment of another elitist, ultra-conservative, religious school supporter to the Supreme Court is a real threat to public schools. A confirmation for Brett Kavanaugh provides a legal pathway for Betsy DeVos to promote her education agenda, which begins with voucher programs that weaken public education and the incorporation of religion in our schools that muddle the separation of church and state. Since the hearings for Kavanaugh’s confirmation will probably not begin until September, there is time for us to jump into action. It is our duty to call our senators and galvanize our communities. The beauty of our country lies in its checks and balances, and it is our time to begin checking every single branch of our government. It is after all, our children’s education that lies in the balance.
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