New York Democrats Abortion Rights Protest

Mychael Schnell/WCBS 880

Protests Around City Over Supreme Court Pick; 7 Arrested Outside Trump Tower

July 10, 2018 - 10:11 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- Protesters took to the streets outside of Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan following President Donald Trump's Supreme Court announcement.

Trump's choice for Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, is described by CBS News correspondent Steven Portnoy as "conventional" -- though hardly popular with Democrats.

“Brett Kavanaugh – a conventional choice; an Ivy League graduate; somebody who comes from the establishment – the Republican establishment; a Washington native who clerked for Anthony Kennedy and served in the White House of George W. Bush. Democrats reacting to Kavanaugh’s nomination with fury," Portnoy said Tuesday morning. "They are worried that if confirmed, he will tilt the court more firmly to the right for decades to come.”

But Kavanaugh's selection led protesters to rally outside Trump Tower on Monday night, fearful that Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

Protesters blocked traffic and carried hand-painted signs reading, "Reclaim SCOTUS!"

Police arrested seven protesters, including City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-45th).

"My message is not the to bigoted right and the Republicans who are bigots and believe in these policies, they did what they were supposed to do, my message is to those Democrats who think resistance is just a hashtag," said Williams, who is running for lieutenant governor.

Later in the day Tuesday, local Democrats rallied in Lower Manhattan against Kavanaugh, also over concerns that he could pose a risk to abortion rights.

As WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) stood in front of a legion of supporters – one of them holding a sign reading, “Legal abortion saves lives.” She was adamant.

“We are facing a tyranny that our democracy tried to stop with checks and balances,” Maloney said.

Maloney said Kavanaugh will be nothing more than a mouthpiece from the Trump administration.

“This country stopped (Robert) Bork. This country stopped another appointment – I don't even remember his name – before they got to Kennedy,” Kavanaugh said.

She wants a moderate justice in Kennedy’s same mold.

In Washington, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) led protests on the steps of the Supreme Court. The rally began shortly after Trump's 9 p.m. Monday announcement and included chants of "Hell no on Kavanaugh." The speakers say the nominee poses a threat to abortion rights and health care protections.

"Everyone here knows what is at stake. What is at stake is women's freedom, our freedom to make our own decisions," Gillibrand said.

Kavanaugh, 53, is a longtime judge and former clerk for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. He has been a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington since 2006. He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton and worked in the White House during George W. Bush's presidency.

Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale University college and law school, and teaches at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown. Trump called him a “brilliant jurist” who is “universally regarded as one of the sharpest and finest legal minds of our time.”

With Kavanaugh, Trump is replacing a swing vote on the nine-member court with a staunch conservative. Kavanaugh is expected to be less receptive to abortion and gay rights than Kennedy was. He also has taken an expansive view of executive power and has favored limits on investigating the president.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)