During his Senate confirmation hearing
on Thursday, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh refused to answer
questions related to Obergefell, the Supreme Court's landmark
2015 ruling that found gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional
right to marry.
California Senator Kamala Harris, a
Democrat, asked Kavanaugh whether “Obergefell was correctly
decided, in your opinion.”
Kavanaugh, who if confirmed would
replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, instead explained Kennedy's
record of writing landmark majority opinions in LGBT cases, including
Harris interrupted several times to
repeat her question.
“Sir, I'm asking your opinion, you're
the nominee right now. It is probative of your ability to serve on
the highest court in our land,” she said.
After several attempts to get Kavanaugh
to answer the question, Harris gave up.
“So you will not answer that
question?” Harris rhetorically asked as Kavanaugh nodded his head.
Harris noted Kavanaugh's previous
description of Brown as “one of the greatest moments in the
court's history,” then asked: “Do you believe that Obergefell
was also one of those moments?”
Kavanaugh refused to answer, noting
that past nominees have refused to comment on recent cases.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called Kavanaugh's refusal to
“Brett Kavanaugh's refusal to answer
very basic, very direct questions about the Supreme Court's historic
ruling bringing marriage equality nationwide is alarming and
completely unacceptable,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a
statement. “The Obergefell decision is settled law. If this
nominee cannot so much as affirm that or the fundamental equality of
LGBTQ people and our families, he should not and must not be granted
a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.”