Amnesty International: Investigate Kavanaugh for human rights abuses


Citing Brett Kavanaugh's potential involvement in human rights violations, Amnesty International has taken the exceptionally rare step of calling to delay the confirmation vote on Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Amnesty International took the very rare step Monday of calling to delay a vote on confirming Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, urging Senate Republicans to allow time for a review of his "possible involvement in human rights violations" before appointing him to a lifetime position on the court.

In an open letter to senators, Amnesty's executive director Margaret Huang raised several areas of concern, starting with Kavanaugh's role as an attorney in the George W. Bush White House during the time after the 9/11 terror attacks, when the administration oversaw the rollout of an interrogation program that included tactics such as torture, forced disappearance, and other human rights abuses.

Huang said the vetting of Kavanaugh's human rights record has been "insufficient," and called for the vote on Kavanaugh to be postponed "unless and until" all information related to Kavanaugh's potential involvement in the U.S. policy on "torture and other forms of ill-treatment" is released.

While Kavanaugh has denied playing any role in the Bush administration's decision to use torture as an interrogation method, Democrats have challenged that assertion, citing two documents that suggest he was involved "in issues related to torture and rendition after 9/11."

In addition to his role in the Bush White House, Huang also referenced the recent sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, citing them as evidence of possible involvement in other human rights violations.

"As sexual assault also implicates a number of human rights, including the right to be free from gender-based discrimination and violence, we also call for a thorough vetting in regard to any allegations made against Kavanaugh to this effect, including those by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Deborah Ramirez," Huang wrote.

She further warned that Kavanaugh could use his position as a Supreme Court justice "to either prevent accountability for these crimes or to continue perpetration."

Huang also noted that Amnesty International is "deeply concerned" about Kavanaugh's record when it comes to other related issues such as women's rights, sexual and reproductive rights, and access to abortion.

While he has done his best to portray himself as moderate in these areas, Kavanaugh's own words and actions reveal a man with extreme views who has used his position as a judge to advocate for restricting women's autonomy, especially when it comes to control over their own bodies.

Among other things, Kavanaugh has indicated that he doesn't consider Roe v. Wade to be "settled law" and thus would be open to overturning it. He also recently aligned himself with anti-abortion extremists when he falsely suggested that birth control is akin to an "abortion-causing" drug.

And when confronted with the grim reality that women die when access to abortion is restricted, Kavanaugh shrugged this reality off as just a differing "point of view."

These positions are even more disturbing in light of the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh that have surfaced in recent days.

Kavanaugh's record as a judge, combined with the accusations that he sexually assaulted multiple women, paint a picture of a man with strongly held and deeply regressive views on gender equality and women's rights — views that have no place on the Supreme Court.

But most disturbing of all is that those same views — the ones that prompted an international human rights organization to take the extremely rare step of intervening in a Supreme Court confirmation process — are exactly why Republicans chose Kavanaugh in the first place.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.