Congressional Progressives Endorse Expanding Supreme Court to “Restore Balance”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) has formally thrown its weight behind a Democratic invoice to develop the Supreme Court docket, in an try and push again in opposition to Republican efforts to pack the court docket with right-wing justices.

CPC Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) introduced on Wednesday that the CPC’s almost 100 members voted to endorse the Judiciary Act of 2021. The invoice, which was launched by CPC members Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-New York), Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) and Mondaire Jones (D-New York) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), would add 4 justices to the Supreme Court docket, bringing the whole to 13.

Jayapal hailed the laws as taking part in an “pressing” position in restoring democracy. “The present bench was crammed by a partisan, right-wing effort to entrench a radical, anti-democratic faction and erode human rights which were gained over a long time,” she mentioned. “In recent times, this court docket has gutted the Voting Rights Act and public sector unions, entrenched unconstitutional abortion bans, and did not overturn the blatantly discriminatory Muslim Ban.”

Advocates for Supreme Court docket enlargement and reform praised the choice. “Progress on every thing from reproductive freedom, to voting rights, to local weather change, racial justice, immigration, and the way forward for democracy itself, requires us to rebalance this Court docket,” mentioned Sarah Lipton-Lubet, govt director of Take Again the Court docket Motion Fund. “[T]oday’s endorsement from the Progressive Caucus is a loud and clear message that we are going to not let this hyperpartisan 6-3 stolen Court docket stand in the best way of that progress.”

Although the Supreme Court docket is meant to be non-partisan, it has confronted scrutiny over previous months, notably for its determination to uphold Texas’s near-total abortion ban, which basically overturned Roe v. Wade within the state.

Final month, throughout an preliminary listening to for a case introduced by Mississippi that instantly challenges the decades-old abortion rights determination, the Court docket’s conservative majority indicated that they might be ready to axe Roe protections. This might instantly have an effect on folks in at the least 22 states which can be poised to enact restrictions or outright bans on abortion if Roe is not in place.

In July, the Court docket’s conservative justices dominated to intestine what was left of the Voting Rights Act in its Brnovich v. Democratic Nationwide Committee determination. The six conservatives on the court docket dominated that Arizona’s voting restrictions through the 2020 election weren’t in violation of the anti-discrimination legislation, an assertion that voting rights advocates say is blatantly false.

The Court docket is presently composed of six conservatives and solely three Democrats. This imbalance is because of shameless Republican efforts to dominate the court docket; months earlier than the election in 2016, Sen. Mitch McConnell refused to allow a vote for President Barack Obama’s Democratic Supreme Court docket choose, citing the upcoming election. When Donald Trump took workplace, Republicans instantly confirmed their conservative choose. And final yr, simply weeks earlier than the 2020 election, Republicans rushed to put in far-right Justice Amy Coney Barrett – and not using a single GOP criticism in regards to the proximity to Election Day.

The Judiciary Act is Democrats’ response to Republican manipulation of the Supreme Court docket, which is actively inflicting the degradation of rights for the general public. With lifelong tenure for justices – and with Democratic Justice Stephen Breyer now 83 years outdated – the invoice could be the solely method for Democrats to retake the Supreme Court docket, or at the least restore some steadiness, within the foreseeable future.

Calls to develop the Supreme Court docket took on explicit urgency after Texas severely restricted abortion entry in September; on the time, lawmakers like Representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-New York) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) tweeted in help of laws so as to add justices to the court docket.

“A Supreme Court docket the place 5 of 6 conservative justices have been appointed by GOP presidents who initially misplaced standard vote and confirmed by senators representing minority of Individuals are taking away voting rights and reproductive rights from tens of millions of Individuals. This isn’t democracy,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

With out the passage of the Judiciary Act, Democrats will face an uphill battle to guard abortion entry, restore voting rights and extra. Folks like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) have mentioned that most, if not all, Democratic priorities would require abolishment of the filibuster with the intention to go. Even then, nevertheless, conservatives might nonetheless wage authorized challenges to legal guidelines handed by Democrats.