Protesters want Pa. senators to hold vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until after midterms | Pittsburgh City Paper

Protesters want Pa. senators to hold vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until after midterms

A group of several protesters took to Downtown Pittsburgh and said confirming Kavanaugh could lead to a weakened health-care system.

click to enlarge Protesters on Grant Street in Downtown - CP PHOTO: RYAN DETO
CP photo: Ryan Deto
Protesters on Grant Street in Downtown
On Sept. 5, a small group of protesters gathered in front of the Federal Courthouse building Downtown and asked passersby to join their cause.

“No vote until we vote” they shouted, imploring people to register to vote and then demand their U.S. senators not vote on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until after the midterm elections.

Erin Ninehouser, of Ambridge, and six other protesters stood on Grant Street and held signs against Kavanaugh’s nomination, including one reading “Stop Kavanaugh.” The group was also registering people to vote and registered three voters in the 30 minutes City Paper was present.

President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, and Ninehouser said since Trump is under criminal investigation, and experiencing other scandals, voters should have a say before the U.S. Senate votes on Kavanaugh's confirmation.

“It’s outrageous that a president under criminal investigation gets to place a lifetime justice, when the voters could have a say,” said Ninehouser, referring to the investigation into Trump's alleged ties to Russia.

The U.S. Senate is currently made of up 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats. There is a possibility the Senate could flip to Democratic control after the midterm elections in November, though current polling favors the Republicans maintaining their slight majority.

Ninehouser also sounded the alarm on Kavanaugh’s potential effect on the nation’s health-care system. Among the group was a person dressed as the grim reaper while wearing a Kavanaugh mask.

Ninehouser spoke about a lawsuit filed by 20 Republican state Attorneys General that challenge’s pre-existing conditions protections in the Affordable Care Act.

In a Senate Committee hearing on Wednesday, Kavanaugh said he couldn’t “give assurances on a specific hypothetical,” when asked if he would uphold that part of the health-care law.

Ninehouser warns this leaves the door open to pre-existing conditions protections being struck down by the Supreme Court, if Kavanaugh were to be seated. Additionally, even though Kavanagh said the landmark Roe V. Wade abortion decision was “settled law” in committee, leaked emails to the New York Times show Kavanaugh wrote in 2003 the he was “unsure” Roe was settled law.

“All of those patient protections could be gone,” she said.

Losing those protections could be harmful to Amy Raslevich. She attended the protest and spoke about her breast-cancer diagnosis and how she is apprehensive she could lose her coverage. She is recovering after surgery, and cancer could qualify as a pre-existing condition.

Raslevich is currently a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, but said after she graduates she worries she “won't be able to have access” to health care.

“I am stuck,” said Raslevich. “I may not be able to get follow-up treatments.I shouldn’t go bankrupt because I have breast cancer.”