We are Mainers, 11 generations and counting, a father and daughter who have watched our state and our nation make slow progress in keeping its promises of securing liberty and equality for all of us. That’s why we are so alarmed at the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

We are counting on Sen. Susan Collins to do the right thing and vote to reject Kavanaugh for a lifetime seat on our highest court, not only because of his record of hostility to civil rights protections but also because his testimony at his confirmation hearing raises serious questions about his honesty and integrity.

No sooner had Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing ended than the NAACP called for a special Senate investigation into possible perjury. At issue: numerous statements he made that were contradicted by records leaked or released during the week of the hearing. From these records, we learned that Kavanaugh likely misrepresented his positions on substantive issues ranging from reproductive rights, to his role in Bush-era “war on terror” policies, to receiving stolen emails, to his support of a federal judicial nominee opposed by Sen. Collins.

All that is bad enough.

But Kavanaugh’s record also directly threatens the well-being of Mainers. His confirmation would pose an existential threat to the landmark Affordable Care Act, which helps thousands of hardworking Mainers, especially those from communities of color and other marginalized communities. Make no mistake, the ACA saves lives – and our state led the nation last year with a 72 percent increase in Affordable Care Act enrollment from the year before.

Many Maine families would be at risk if Kavanaugh’s confirmation enables the court to strip ACA protections, including the provision that helps patients with pre-existing conditions to be insured. Almost 230,000 Mainers – close to 30 percent of the population that is not yet elderly – have a pre-existing medical condition that, without ACA protections, could cost them their health insurance.

Of course, Kavanaugh was handpicked by President Trump, who promised during his campaign to unravel the ACA. And on the federal appellate bench, Kavanaugh twice dissented from rulings upholding the ACA, putting him out of step with his colleagues in the courts. If he joins the Supreme Court, rolling back health protections could become the law of the land.

Also at risk could be our long, hard-fought progress toward racial justice. For decades, Supreme Court decisions have recognized that programs aimed at leveling a playing field tilted by centuries of discrimination and prejudice can be appropriate in certain circumstances. But as a government lawyer, Kava- naugh terribly misconstrued an effort to promote businesses owned by people of color as a “naked racial set-aside.” As a private attorney, Kavanaugh instead looked forward to the “inevitable conclusion” that the court will decide that “we are all one race in the eyes of government.”

At his hearing, Kava- naugh refused to stand by his statements about racial equity programs when he was questioned by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “You just can’t say right now what you believe?” asked New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.

Kavanaugh’s decisions have also weakened voting rights protections, more evidence that he would turn back the clock on full participation by people of color in our society. He wrote the opinion upholding a voter ID law in South Carolina after the U.S. Justice Department blocked the law because it could have disenfranchised tens of thousands of registered voters who were people of color.

His apparent lack of concern for those who must fight for equal opportunity extends to the workplace. As a judge, when workers have come to court seeking protection from workplace discrimination, Kavanaugh more often than not has given their employers the benefit of the doubt. He has been the lone voice arguing against people alleging discrimination based on race or age, even concluding that civil rights laws do not even apply.

We simply do not believe that this is a record that Mainers want in a Supreme Court justice.

We are proud of the generations of people in Maine and every other state who have struggled to help our nation keep the promises of liberty and equality for all. But that progress depends on a Supreme Court that is made up of people of the highest personal integrity, who also understand that our civil rights are the foundation of all our liberties. Brett Kavanaugh would take the court in a different direction – which is why he does not deserve Sen. Collins’ vote.

 

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