To say this last Supreme Court term had a monumental hand in forcing the country backward would be a profound understatement. With affirmative action and voting rights on the docket for the high court in its fall cases, the progressive House caucus is calling for checks and balances to be created, Salon reports.
Abortion and Miranda rights, concealed gun carry laws, and ways to combat climate have all been ways the conservative-slated court has changed the country in recent weeks. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) came out in a statement expressing an urgency to install some checks and balances.
“Last week, the Supreme Court finished one of the most consequential and destructive terms in recent decades,” Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement. “The list of precedents nullified and democratic institutions and principles this Supreme Court gutted or fully overturned this term is horrifying.”
Jayapal also spoke on prior rulings where the Supreme Court upheld Louisiana’s boring maps eliminating a second Black district and excluding Puerto Rico citizens from welfare programs. A fall case such as Moore v. Harper could provide state legislators even more power over federal elections – paving the way for Republican-led lawmakers not to recognize a duly elected president.
“The court denied Social Security benefits to the residents of Puerto Rico, blocked a federal vaccine-or-test requirement, denied detained immigrants bond hearings, undermined tribal sovereignty, allowed the CIA to withhold information about torture at black sites, and entrenched Louisiana’s racially gerrymandered electoral maps,” Jayapal continued.
“They won’t stop here,” she added. “The justices have already agreed to hear cases next term that could weaken our electoral process, allow discrimination against same-sex couples, and end affirmative action.”
As Salon mentions, there are three laws Rep. Jayapal and others are advocating to pass to create some accountability. They are based around the expansion of the Supreme Court, codifying recusal standards which judges can do voluntarily, and the prohibition of conflict of interests like stock holdings.
1. The Judiciary Act would expand the number of seats on the Supreme Court from nine to 13.
2. The Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act (SCERT) would make an ethics and recusal standard and make the disclosure of lobbying and dark money a requirement.
3. The Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act would stop every federal judge from owning individual stocks, commercial real estate, trusts, and private corporations.
These measures have a slim chance of passing a Senate requiring ten Republican votes. Supreme Court Justices are the only judges exempt from the Code of Ethics, which allows them not to disclose money received or speak at partisan events. It’s far beyond time to revise the makeup of the Supreme Court and the array of powers at its disposal.