Protest Over Supreme Court Pick Brings Both Sides

Supporters of President Donald Trump, Mark Sisler, left, joins Tara Sisler, Mike Rosell and Tom Ferreri each of Bayville to provide their view in support of the president's nominee for supreme court justice during a rally in Toms River that had been organized to demonstrate opposition to that nomination. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

TOMS RIVER – Fourteen county residents came together on Washington Street despite confusion regarding whether a rally to oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh by President Donald Trump, was actually taking place or not.

Of the 14 present, 10 shared their views with Jersey Shore Online, opposing the nomination while four others explained their view of why Kavanaugh’s nomination should be allowed its due course. The gathering held provided an impromptu forum of civil discourse between both sides.

Kavanaugh is being considered for the opening on the United States Supreme Court and a series of nationwide rallies called “Unite For Justice,” took place on Aug. 26. The downtown Toms River rally was one of three in the state that had been scheduled by MoveOn.org with support from partnering agencies that are involved in healthcare and environmental causes but the organizing website dropped the Toms River location the day before.

Thomas Cannavo, chairman of the Green Party of Ocean County holds up his hand made sign opposing President Trump’s supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a small rally held in downtown Toms River. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

Those who came out to oppose Kavanaugh were not aware of the event’s apparent cancellation. Likewise, those who came out to support the president’s nominee were expecting a bigger turnout by the opposition.

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The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin confirmation hearings on Kavanaugh on Sept. 4.

Those who oppose Kavanaugh such as Ocean County Green Party Chairman Thomas Cannavo of Beachwood say he will rule against reproductive freedom, health care, the environment, voting rights, workers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights, and are calling on U.S. senators to block the appointment.

Cannavo was also promoting his organization’s rally set for 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 15 in downtown Toms River called a “March for Peace: End Wars.” That event will include a march followed by a rally with live music and speakers advocating for peace. “We need to express our views,” Cannavo said.

Beachwood resident Bill Trulby said “I have no problem with him (Kavanaugh) as a person but I don’t think the president should have the ability to put in a person who is 50 something and is a person who will have a lot of influence on the supreme court for the next 30 years. We will remember in November.”

A conversation of differing opinions concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as the next supreme court justice is seen during a rally held in downtown Toms River. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

Trulby said he researched Kavanaugh and he had concerns about the president’s nomination given the circumstances of recent legal issues that could lead to Trump’s indictment or possible impeachment.

Sandford Josephson, Manchester, noted similar concerns. “He should not be allowed to have his nominee heard in the Senate at this time. Republicans will be complicit with this if it goes forward.” Josephson is hopeful the nomination might not pass. “All you need is one (Republican) to flip it.”

Waretown resident Roseanne DePasquale has been attending recent rallies opposing the president’s policies and was present to lend her voice on two fronts, one sharing her view opposing the nomination and leading supporters in a protest song or two.

“I don’t see how this president can nominate anyone right now when he may be being brought up on criminal charges. I think this should wait until after the midterm election,” DePasquale said.

Tom Ferreri of Bayville felt differently. He attended the rally to find out why there would be opposition to the nomination process.

“How can you be against this? How do you know how he will vote on a given issue? He will vote according to an interpretation of law. He is a constitutionalist,” Ferreri said of Kavanaugh.

Mark Sisler, his wife Tara, and Mike Rosell, each of Bayville, came out to share their view which was in support of the president’s nomination.

Roseanne DePasquale of Waretown sings a protest song along with Thomas Cannavo of Beachwood during a small rally held in Toms River opposing the president’s nominee for supreme court justice. (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

“I think everyone is entitled to their opinion but this is a legal process. I didn’t like it when Obama was president but once he was elected I accepted it. I think this nomination stands for itself. I don’t see him as mean spirited. For those afraid he will reverse Roe Vs. Wade, he can’t change that. He is only one person on the bench,” Sisler said.

Sitting off to the side of the morning activity, typing on his laptop was Steve Monvay who was unaware of the planned rally and who had come out to sit on the steps and do some writing. The township resident who moved to the United States decades ago from Hungary was pleased to see the civil conversation between the two sides. He also lamented on the passing of Sen. John McCain.

“Trump is ignorant and a racist. You see a lot in the people he has picked to be around him,” Monvay said. “I’m Hungarian and I moved here when I was 14. The president of Hungry was a fascist. Trump will be meeting with the prime minister of Hungary soon. I am glad to see people come out and speak their views.”

Rep. Thomas McArthur (R-3rd District) provided a prepared statement prior to the rally in support of the nominee. His office is a short distance away from the rally point within the Toms River Township municipal building.

“Brett Kavanaugh is exactly the type of judge who would be a great asset to our nation’s highest bench. He was confirmed to his current post with bipartisan support and I expect him to be confirmed to the Supreme Court with support from both parties. I would encourage Democrats to give him a fair and open hearing, rather than obstructing him at every turn, simply because he was nominated by President Trump.”