Tensions were high on the corner of Central Avenue and 1st Street Monday night as activists took to the streets to protest the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), as well as members of the community, gathered to criticize Kavanaugh and what his nomination could mean for the country.
“We can’t allow these people to sit on our Supreme Court,” said Deandre Totten, a University of New Mexico student. “We don’t need the justice system more right-wing than it already is, we don’t need more black and brown people sent to jail, we don’t need women’s rights rolled back…so we came out here to agitate and push back against Kavanaugh.”
The debate over Kavanaugh has been ongoing since his nomination by President Donald Trump on July 9, 2018. Tensions boiled over when sexual assault allegations were brought against Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California college professor.
The Senate Judiciary Committee moved Kavanaugh to the full senate for approval on Sept. 28, a vote that will take place later this week in order for the FBI to investigate the claims of sexual assault.
The protest focused on the protection of a women’s right to have an abortion, people of color being treated fairly by the justice system and keeping nominees with sexual assault allegations off the Supreme Court.
The implications for citizens, mainly women, of New Mexico was the main focus. There was a lot of talk about what removing the right to an abortion would mean.
“If someone with the politics of a Brett Kavanaugh were to get into the Supreme Court and overturn Roe versus Wade in order for individual states to decide how abortion will be dealt with…The law that we have on the books here in New Mexico is that a woman who has an abortion will have a felony — that's prison,” said Marissa Elyse Sanchez, an organizer for the PSL.
Signs that read “Free Abortion On Demand” and “Stop The War on Women” were waved in the air as attendees repeated messages chanted by speakers.
The demonstrators interacted with people who witnessed the protest, some of whom waved or honked their car horns. There were a few counter protesters throughout the night, one of which being a man who screamed, “Support Kavanaugh, support Kavanaugh,” as he walked through the crowd of protesters. The majority of the demonstrators, however, remained unfazed by the disapproval of some people.
According to Sanchez, the organization plans to meet throughout the rest of the year and during the winter to protect women’s right to an abortion and vowed to continue fighting Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Sanchez said, “For New Mexicans we must be especially ear-to-the-ground, fighting back, doing what we are doing right now, putting pressure to say no flipping way are we overturning Roe v. Wade.”
Matthew Zank is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @reportermattz.