The Supreme Court issued a series of rulings this term that was a right-wing wishlist. The Court gave the radical Republicans everything they wanted, and which they could never accomplish through the democratic branches of government. More guns, abortion bans, state-mandated prayer, a gutted Clean Air Act, less police accountability, and more gerrymandered congressional districts. It’s been bad!
What’s next? Most likely, attacks on birth control, marriage equality, the Voting Rights Act (what’s left of it), public schools and our Social Security system. They’re trying to repeal the whole 20th century.
Having captured the courts, the right-wing is acting to fundamentally transform our country, making us less free and at the mercy of the dark money donors who bought them their seats.
Remember, 5 of the 9 current Justices were appointed by presidents who lost at the ballot box, receiving fewer votes than their opponents but capturing the presidency through the out-dated and anti-democratic Electoral College. One justice, Clarence Thomas, is directly implicated in the January 6th insurrection, and three others (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett) were appointed by a treasonous president and may have lied during their confirmation hearings.
When a similarly out-of-step right-wing Supreme Court threatened progressive change in the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt clearly challenged them. He said:
There is no basis for the claim made by some members of the Court that something in the Constitution has compelled them regretfully to thwart the will of the people. We have, therefore, reached the point as a nation where we must take action to save the Constitution from the Court and the Court from itself.
Americans’ views of the right-wing court were already at an all-time low―and that was before they repealed Roe v. Wade, crossed out a hundred-year-old gun safety law in New York, and all the rest. The legitimacy crisis is here―it’s time to act!
There are many ideas on how to reform the Supreme Court . At a minimum, we should be considering increasing the number of justices, limiting their jurisdiction, ending lifetime tenure, and reforming the appointment process. Ethics rules for Supreme Court justices, which currently do not exist, would be helpful as well.
To accomplish any of that, we’ll have to build a functional Democratic majority in the House and the Senate that is willing to eliminate the Jim Crow filibuster in order to pass meaningful legislation to advance our agenda. In concrete terms, that means Democrats have to hold on to the House of Representatives in the coming mid-term elections and add at least two Senators. A tall order, to be sure, and the precedent of history does not favor us. Is there enough anger and fear out there among the Democratic electorate to motivate them to show up at the polls this November, like they did in 2018 and 2020? Let’s hope so!