Almost exactly two years ago, a group of 16 activists from Colorado traveled over 1600 miles across the country to visit Senator Cory Gardner in his Washington D.C. office, and to urge him, face-to-face, to vote no on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. At the time, Gardner had already failed to address months of protests, calls, and actions from his constituents, begging him not to confirm someone who posed such a grave threat to our civil liberties.
Our concerns were rooted in Kavanaugh’s previous and worrisome judicial record, and in the credible allegations of sexual violence against him by several women across the country. We waited over seven hours in the hallway outside of Gardner’s D.C. office and, after dozens of phone calls and emails from friends and allies in Colorado who shared our same concerns, Senator Gardner, who is notorious for evading his constituents, finally sat down with us. Members of our group shared personal stories of sexual assault with the Senator and his team, pleading with our elected official to prevent Brett Kavanaugh from a seat on the Supreme Court bench. To our faces, Sen. Gardner told us he was still undecided; It was an insult to read in the Denver Post, only a few hours after our meeting, that Gardner planned to confirm the justice, and his support had been unwavering since July. He lied to us. In response, a member of our cohort told the Denver Post, “We will remember in 2020, when he’s up for re-election, that he abandoned us when we needed him.” Senator Gardner turned his back on his constituents and sexual assault survivors in his state and across the nation when he proudly cast a ‘yes’ vote in support of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. We haven’t forgotten.
Thanks to Gardner, Brett Kavanaugh is serving a lifetime appointment and will continue to pose a direct threat to many of our constitutional rights, as demonstrated by his record during this last SCOTUS session. But Coloradans are used to Sen. Gardner compromising our wellbeing to score a few political points with his own party, especially as it relates to his votes to undermine the Affordable Care Act, immigrant rights, and reproductive healthcare – all issues near and dear to voters in his state. He has been largely absent during his career, hosting primarily closed-door meetings to avoid answering tough questions or facing accountability from his constituents. In fact, he hasn’t held a public town hall in two years. His avoidance knows no bounds and has not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by his average approval rating of only 38%.
In 2018, Cory Gardner decided that falling in line with his party on a Supreme Court nomination pick was more important than standing in support with survivors of assault and listening to the needs of his constituents. Coloradans deserve better. We cannot allow Senator Gardner to have a say in confirming another dangerous justice to a lifetime appointment–there is too much at stake. This November, we plan to hold Senator Cory Gardner accountable for his confirmation of Brett Kavanagh.
Jeri Giachetti & Cyn Hudson on behalf of the Colorado 16.
The Colorado 16 is a grassroots advocacy group dedicated to bringing awareness to and eliminating sexual harassment, assault, and violence against all genders, through education and advocacy. This group was the recipient of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 2019 Survivor Activist Award for their grassroots lobbying in D.C. during the Kavanaugh nomination hearings.