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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Highlights from Justice4Life webcast

Last night, Students for Life of America hosted a webcast on the topic of its Justice4Life campaign, a grassroots effort to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. A recording will be available soon, but in the meantime, here are my notes.

Emcee David Bereit
  • David uses the word "opportunity" constantly. An historic opportunity, an opportunity to restore the right to life as established in the Constitution, an opportunity we've waited for for decades... 
  • He emphasizes Justice Kennedy's swing role; he was "not a vote we could ever count on," although he did vote the right way in NIFLA v. Becerra
Former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese
  • "For too long, we have had people on the Supreme Court who have ignored what the Constitution actually says." 
  • Religious minorities flocked to the early United States because of our protections for freedom of conscience; preserving that freedom is critical
  • "Throughout his career, [Kavanaugh] has demonstrated his fidelity to the Constitution." 
  • Notes that Federalist Society has vetted nominees, including Gorsuch and Kavanaugh
  • Communicate with your Senators with the goal of seating Kavanaugh before the next term begins on October 1st. True, every Senator won't read every letter/email, but staffers compile reports about the numbers of letters sent. Write letters to the editor of your local paper too! 
  • The effort starts now, as Senators have one-on-one meetings with Kavanaugh.
Ken Klukowski, First Liberty Institute
  • His critical concern is what replacing Kennedy means for First Amendment rights
  • Underlying judicial philosophy matters; result-driven decisions may go your way, but set bad precedents for you next time. We want a Justice who will "embrace democracy" and allow legislators who are accountable to the people to decide most policy questions. 
  • Klukowski takes on criticisms of Kavanaugh's past decisions from non-lawyers. Kavanaugh has been "faithful to his role as a subordinate judge on an inferior court," where he must apply Supreme Court precedent; that doesn't necessarily mean that he agrees with those precedents.
(I missed a significant portion of the webcast here, which I gather was focused on Judge Kavanaugh's qualifications, because I got a phone call. So sorry!)

Marjorie Dannenfelser, SBA List
  • Individual people have ALL the power in America. "We can either use it, or we can let it go by the wayside... This moment is decades in the making. There is no overstating, in my opinion, the moment we are in right now."
  • Recounts President Trump's promise to nominate Scalia-like Justices and submission of a list to the American people before the election
  • Breakdown of the Senate: we have 49 solid pro-life votes, but Sen. McCain is . The two pro-choice Republicans could derail everything, but we can offset them with pro-life Democrats who previously voted for Gorsuch. The pressure on Sens. Donnelly, Heitkamp, and Manchin (and to a lesser extent Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama) is intense. The abortion industry knows what's at stake. "Tier 2" Senators (harder to get, but possble) are McCaskill and Nelson. 
  • "No matter where you live, the most important thing you can do is ensure that the Senate understands the intensity of this moment. ... It has an echo effect, even if you're not in those [swing] states."
  • Students for Life and Susan B. Anthony List have rallies planned for Senators' district offices.
  • Older Senators care about phone calls; younger ones care about tweets; everybody cares about email. 
  • Millions of children can be saved by just a handful of votes.
Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life of America
  • Go to Justice4Life.org; students can sign up for the national tour happening the first week of August! Anyone, student or not, can download an action kit with information on how to contact your Senator, advice to write/submit a letter to the editor, sample tweets, etc.
  • On Saturday, August 11, there will be rallies throughout the nation. Sign up to be a rally captain (again, at Justice4Life.org) to bring a rally to your community!
  • David chimes in: you don't have to have special skills to be a rally captain. Ordinary people are the agents of change.

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