Las Vegas Sun

October 16, 2018

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GUEST COLUMN:

Supporting judges with narrow vision leaves us all blind

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court leaves Nevada with a number of factors to weigh. In this moment of great social and political change, it’s comforting to focus on things we can all agree on. It is our privilege and responsibility to hold Sen. Dean Heller and Kavanaugh accountable to the American public they serve.

At the 4th annual Basque Fry on Aug. 25 in Northern Nevada, Heller was caught on camera promising the crowd he would continue to appoint conservative judges, if re-elected. With that promise, he made it clear that the health and rights of Nevadans, America’s women, and upholding the Constitutional separation of powers takes a backseat to party politics.

From planet-wide issues down to individual rights, here’s where Kavanaugh and Heller leave us hanging.

It’s also important to consider how Kavanaugh’s personal opinions will affect the rule of law. Thanks to the rule of law, as it was applied in Roe v. Wade, that made it possible for me to stay in school to pursue my dreams.

While getting my bachelor’s degree, a condom broke and I was pregnant. If Kavanaugh had his way, I would have been forced to have a child I had absolutely no means to take care of.

Raising a child is blindingly expensive. What if I couldn’t get a job? What if I had to work two jobs? Kavanaugh’s moral objections to the decision I made consistently fail to answer these practical questions.

What would Kavanaugh say to a fellow American who had to make that decision? I made the choice that was right for me, and we must continue to keep this safe and legal option available.

Taking it away has never reduced the number of people who seek it out. People don’t want someone who is not their doctor to tell them what they can and cannot do with their body — people like me, who want to determine the trajectory of their lives for themselves.

It’s up to Nevada’s fiercely independent spirit to stand up to Kavanaugh and his supporter Dean Heller.

We must hold them accountable.

It is widely known that Kavanaugh was selected as the nominee because of his conservative record. He has been known to rule favorably toward big corporations, religious groups and guns rights advocates, while ruling unfavorably toward women, climate change advocates and minorities.

His nomination is bad news for anyone concerned about voting rights, deregulation of private industry, climate change, presidential powers and much more.

The issue most at stake is a woman’s right to choose.

Though Kavanaugh has described Roe v. Wade as “settled law,” he counts a Supreme Court justice who claimed “Roe v. Wade should have never happened” as his idol. Heller promised to protect Planned Parenthood, then voted to defund it 10 times. Both Kavanaugh and Heller have proven time and again that they are bad for women’s rights.

Heller’s work would deny funding to clinics that provide cancer screenings, STD testing, general health care and LGBTQ services. Many of these clinics are the only option available in rural areas. Had Heller been victorious, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated 15 million Americans would have lost insurance, and premiums would have gone up 20 percent.

Heller’s sustained focus, if re-elected, remains on ignoring his commitment to protecting the rights of Nevadans. His inconsistent messaging does not reflect the best interests of this state.

By supporting nominee Kavanaugh, Heller would be doubling down on deafness. Although most Americans endorse the right to choose, individuals like Kavanaugh and Heller want to take it away.

But they won’t without a fight.

This is our time to remind elected officials that they work for us. We must take back control of our destiny as a nation. It’s up to Nevada, a state full of strong and clear voices, to lead the way.

Nilsia Cadena, of Las Vegas, is a Planned Parenthood volunteer and a columnist whose work has appeared in print and online media.