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Culture > News

How Politics Affect You: Kavanaugh

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

If you’re anything like me, the idea that Brett Kavanaugh may be the next Supreme Court judge is terrifying. Below are some of the ways his confirmation could affect you: a Barnard or Columbia student.

Your reproductive rights

Kavanaugh believes that the rights set up by Roe v. Wade set a precedent but can be overturned by the court. Roe v. Wade guarantees that it is a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that this right must work with state’s interests in regulating abortions. Today, many states make it difficult for women to have an abortion, but if Kavanaugh and other conservative judges overturn Roe v. Wade, these states will most likely ban or severely limit abortion. As a student at Barnumbia, you will still have those rights while you are here. But, if you go home, that may not be the case. Specifically, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota and South Dakota already have laws that would automatically ban abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

Your LGBTQ friends, or yourself

There could be a number of LGBTQ issues coming to the courts as early as the coming political term. These include Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military, whether federal law (in civil rights) bans discrimination in the workplace and education based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and whether businesses can invoke religious freedom laws to refuse service to gay people. While Kavanaugh does not have a history in judging LGBTQ-related cases, the one thing we can say is that he’ll probably uphold the trans ban because he “believes” in strong executive power. Otherwise though, it is pretty hard to tell what he’ll do.

Your voting rights

Once again, this really depends on what state you live in because Kavanaugh supports a state’s right to choose what regulations they want to enact. So, if you are from a more conservative state, then the laws about who can and who cannot vote may be more strict. But, if you are registered to vote in New York, then you’ll likely be okay. One problem you may face is the unpublicized changing of polling places.

Your healthcare

This issue gets to an essential aspect of what confirming Kavanaugh would look like. He’s basically going to enforce anything that Trump says because he believes (when it’s convenient for him) that executive power is strong (he did not believe this when Obama was president). This means that he will support the president’s decision to not defend the ACA. If you, a family member, or someone you know suffer from being denied or having to pay more for health coverage because of a preexisting condition than this could be extremely detrimental.

Your technology

There are two things you should be worried about when concerning technology: net neutrality and privacy. Kavanaugh must be doing some sort of mental gymnastics to get to this point, but he believes that net neutrality violates the free speech rights of internet providers. Essentially, he believes that they (internet providers) should have the right to censor the Internet from the people. He is also a strong supporter of the NSA’s spy program, so, if the court were to adjudicate on technology laws this is probably how he would lean. Those decisions will result in federal laws that the state cannot go against and would put our privacy at stake.

Your earth

Judge Kavanaugh is vehemently against federal regulations. If confirmed, it is pretty likely that he would vote against the constitutionality of laws which protect the environment by regulating businesses. Getting rid of those protections is definitely not good for your earth. What’s doing the most damage to the climate right now is big businesses ignoring the negative effects of their work, but if you want to make a difference the best way to do so is by making changes in your daily life!

So, if you are kind of feeling like this:

That’s totally okay, but there is still so much you can do, specifically at the local level. When you go home, work to make the change.