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expand the court

Activists for expanding the U.S. Supreme Court rally outside the nation's highest court in Washington, D.C. on June 22, 2022. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Demand Justice)

Progressives Launch 'Four More' Campaign to Demand Supreme Court Expansion

"In a true democracy, power rests with the people," one campaigner asserted. "And the only way to take our power back is to take back the court."

Brett Wilkins

Asserting that expanding the U.S. Supreme Court from nine to 13 members is the best way to protect Americans' rights from the right-wing supermajority's attacks, progressive advocates on Monday launched a campaign in support of a bill to add four more justices to the nation's highest court.

"If we don't do something to stop the right-wing radicals on the court, they will continue to attack our fundamental rights."

"On Friday, the Supreme Court's out-of-control right-wing supermajority eviscerated our reproductive freedoms by overturning 50 years of precedent guaranteeing a pregnant person's right to choose to have an abortion," Stand Up America executive director Christina Harvey said during a Monday webinar announcing the "Four More" campaign—a project also backed by Demand Justice, Indivisible, and Take Back the Court Action Fund—in support of the Judiciary Act. The proposed legislation, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), would increase the size of the court by four justices.

"This ruling was but the latest evidence of how broken our nation's highest court has become. Just one day earlier, the court struck down New York's 100-year-old concealed carry law, weakening states' abilities to pass measures to keep their residents safe just 30 days after 19 children were massacred by a gunman in Uvalde, Texas," Harvey continued.

"Our children shouldn't grow up to have less rights than we did," she added. "If we don't do something to stop the right-wing radicals on the court, they will continue to attack our fundamental rights until we no longer recognize the country we live in."

Expanding the court is "the only option to protect our country from these radical justices," Harvey argued, noting that "Congress has changed the size of the Supreme Court seven times in our history."

Speaking at the webinar, Take Back the Court Action Fund executive director Sarah Lipton-Lubet warned that the right-wing justices are "coming for our bodies, for our futures, for our autonomy, and for our lives."

Lipton-Lubet noted that Justice Brett Kavanaugh "practically begged for a national abortion ban" in his concurrence to Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, and Justice Clarence Thomas "showed us where he wants to take this—coming for birth control, for marriage equality, who even knows what's next?"

"It's the continuation and acceleration of the war the right-wing justices are prosecuting against women," Lipton-Lubet said, "against communities of color, against the LGBTQ community, against clean air and water, against workers' rights, against immigrant rights, against voting and democracy, against America itself."

"In a true democracy, power rests with the people. And the only way to take our power back is to take back the court," she added. "We have the tools. We can end the filibuster, codify the right to abortion, and expand the court. And that's exactly what it's going to take to protect abortion access and preserve our democracy." 

Stand Up America explained on its website that "the Supreme Court is radically out of balance—not by accident, but by the GOP's design. For decades, conservatives have been appointing judges and justices who would unfailingly carry out their right-wing agenda."

The group continued:

For example, the Supreme Court's decisions in the Citizens United and Shelby County cases were sweeping conservative victories, opening the floodgates to big money in politics as well as the biggest wave of voter suppression since Jim Crow. And this year the court again undermined our right to vote by upholding voter suppression laws in Arizona, and they dealt a massive blow to reproductive freedom by allowing Texas' extreme anti-abortion law to take effect.

Today's Supreme Court is made up of a 6-3 conservative supermajority that does not reflect our country's politics or diversity. In fact, a majority of the justices are older, wealthy, straight white men—and more than half of the justices were appointed by presidents who lost the national popular vote.

"In the years ahead, the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court will hear cases affecting millions of Americans, on issues ranging from voting rights and money in politics, to healthcare and reproductive health, to racial justice and gun control," Stand Up America added. "We can't leave the fate of our country in their hands."

Progressives have increasingly called for expanding the nation's high court—a proposal that President Joe Biden opposes.

"Given the far-right extremism and the imbalance, and the compromised integrity of the Supreme Court, we need to expand the courts to restore balance and integrity," Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) said on MSNBC over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) have emerged as  leading proponents of the House launching impeachment probes into the right-wing justices.

"Congress... has the authority to impeach members of the Supreme Court," she tweeted, "and has done so before."

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