Amid all the rancor and viciousness surrounding the nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court earlier this month, here's a little fun fact: Did you know that each time the newest justice joins the court, that individual — the junior justice — is assigned to the monthly cafeteria committee?
Justice Elena Kagan noted last year on the eve of Neil Gorsuch's swearing in that the cafeteria committee mulls over menus for when justices dine together during oral arguments, The Hill reported, citing the Washington Post.
Kagan said the role is “a way to kind of humble people,” the Post reported.
"You think you’re kind of hot stuff. You’re an important person. You’ve just been confirmed to the United States Supreme Court," Kagan added, according to the Post. “And now you are going to monthly cafeteria committee meetings where literally the agenda is what happened to the good recipe for the chocolate chip cookies.”
PETA's urgent plea for Kavanaugh
Well, now that Kavanaugh presumably has taken over cafeteria committee duties from Gorsuch, the People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals is urging the newest junior justice to set a "precedent."
PETA wants Kavanaugh — who's pro-life — to support “pro-life eating" by pushing for "predominately vegan food selections on the cafeteria menu—and perhaps even come up with an added incentive for justices to choose plant-based options that’s within your jurisdiction."
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"This may not strike you as the most important decision that you could make, but it would have a positive impact on both animals and human health," the organization wrote in an Oct. 12 open letter to Kavanaugh, PETA said in a news release.
“Going vegan is a simple way to promote respect for all,” added PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who signed the letter. “PETA is asking Justice Kavanaugh to look out for the well-being of animals and his fellow justices by changing the cafeteria selections to healthy and humane animal-free meals.”
PETA provided the text of the letter to Kavanaugh:
October 12, 2018
The Supreme Court of the United States
Dear Justice Kavanaugh,
I’m writing on behalf of our 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including hundreds in Washington, D.C., where our office is just up the street from the White House. May I urge you to set a precedent? This may not strike you as the most important decision that you could make, but it would have a positive impact on both animals and human health. In your position on the court’s Cafeteria Committee, you could make a sound judgment on the merits of pro-life eating by offering predominately vegan food selections on the cafeteria menu—and perhaps even come up with an added incentive for justices to choose plant-based options that’s within your jurisdiction. Allow me to present our case.
As you may know, leading health experts, including a few from Yale, agree that eating plant-based foods is the single best way to enjoy a longer, healthier life. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans reduce their risk of diabetes by 62 percent, their chance of being hospitalized for a heart attack by 33 percent, their risk of heart disease by 29 percent, and their risk of developing cancer by 18 percent. A vegan diet can also decrease the risk of suffering from obesity, since vegans are about 18 percent thinner and 10 to 20 pounds lighter, on average, than their meat-eating counterparts. Everyone knows of Justice Ginsburg’s tough workout regimen, but there is no argument: A vegan diet can actually reverse heart disease and dissolve arterial plaque without exercise.
Everyone who goes vegan also spares animals the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses, where the conditions are usually illegal, although seldom prosecuted. Piglets are castrated, and steers’ horns are burned out of their heads without painkillers—but female animals suffer even more. They are exploited for their reproductive systems: Mother cows are restrained in what farmers call a “rape rack” to be artificially inseminated via a man’s hand reaching up inside them, and their beloved calves are taken away from them within hours of birth so that humans can drink the cow’s breastmilk, instead of letting the calf suckle. Chickens are kept crammed into tiny cages so that their cholesterol-laden eggs can be used in recipes or served whole.
With so many vegan foods—such as Tofurky’s Deli Slices, So Delicious’ coconut milk yogurt, and Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger—readily available (and yes, there are also many brands of vegan beer), it’s a crime to consume products derived from abused animals. We would gladly send free copies of our vegan starter kits to help lengthen the terms of your fellow justices as well as the lives of animals, court staff, and the public. Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk