Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:
On behalf of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), and its 4,000 circuit, state, and local affiliate members across the country, I write to express our strong opposition to the scheduled confirmation vote of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. NELA members have represented thousands of sexual harassment and assault survivors. Our members know from working very closely with survivors how common it is for a survivor to take a very long time to find the safety and support and to arrive at the difficult decision to report harassment and assault. Our members are also extremely familiar with the unfortunate fact that such misconduct often if not always, has dramatic and life-long effects on the survivor.
We urge that any confirmation vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court be delayed. When the Senate votes on a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court it will make a decision with grave and far-reaching consequences for the nation. It should go without saying that such a decision should be informed by the most complete information available about the nominee. This situation calls for completion of a full investigation into the allegations made by Professor Ford and the two other women who have come forward as of this date by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
We make this request out of respect for the rule of law and due process under law. In addition, we appreciate the nature of sexual assault and harassment, and the fact that it is often the case that only people experienced with trauma can understand its nuances. Further, we understand that only a detailed examination of all evidence – including any eye witnesses – can discern the truth. As lawyers, we know that careful fact-finding is essential to a fair process and that a professional investigation, by trained investigators (as opposed to senators or senate staffers) involving questioning of all known witnesses and others is essential to the necessary careful fact-finding. The integrity of our nation’s highest court should be the paramount concern; this decision is far too important to rush.
Among many other things, our members look to the Supreme Court to establish guiding precedent on issues related to women’s rights in the workplace. It would negatively affect the trust that workers throughout the country must place in the Supreme Court for a vote to proceed without certainty on these allegations. It would simply be too detrimental to the Court to have one of its members credibly accused of sexual assault without further examination.
As the ABA aptly stated in its letter, the Supreme Court must remain an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics.
James H. Kaster
NELA Board President