Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Ed Markey

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) speaks while House sponsors of the Judiciary—from L to R, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.)—look on outside the United States Supreme Court on April 15, 2021. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins

A coalition of climate campaigners and progressive congressional allies on Thursday responded to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that drastically limited the government's authority to reduce greenhouse emissions by urging Congress to expand the high court from nine to 13 justices.

"Congress must act—not just by passing critical climate justice legislation, but by also addressing the six existential threats in judicial robes who brought us this appalling decision."

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) joined the Green New Deal Network (GNDN)—a coalition of 15 climate, environmental, and social justice advocacy groups—in calling for the addition of four justices "to restore balance to the Court."

Their call came after the Court's right-wing supermajority ruled 6-3 in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rulemaking powers under the Clean Air Act, a decision cheered by Republicans and the fossil fuel industry.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan warned in her dissent that "today, the court strips the Environmental Protection Agency of the power Congress gave it to respond to 'the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.'"

Markey lamented that "a stolen, illegitimate, radical right-wing Supreme Court just let polluters turn back the clock on 50 years of reduced pollution and improved air quality all across the country."

"We cannot sit idly by as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution," he added. "Congress must act to protect public health and our planet by passing meaningful climate and clean energy funding to protect our communities and our future. We must also pass my Judiciary Act to expand the Court to restore balance and legitimacy to the bench."

First sponsored in the House by Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), the Judiciary Act of 2021 would increase the size of the U.S. Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices.

"The Supreme Court's ruling in West Virginia v. EPA is an attack on our health, safety, and future, and a direct assault on our government's ability to restrain corporate interests," said Bowman.

"In the midst of a world-historic climate crisis that requires an unprecedented public response, the Supreme Court of the United States has undermined our government's ability to respond to the needs of our planet and the people," he continued. "Not only does this ruling show that the Supreme Court 'majority' has been captured by corporate interests, it shows its loyalty to fossil fuel CEOs and right-wing billionaires, not our Constitution or the people."

"It is a very dangerous power grab by the Court, and it could have implications for every kind of regulation," Bowman added. "In response to this judicial overreach, Congress and the White House must restrain this runaway Supreme Court."

Meagan Hatcher-Mays, director of democracy policy at Indivisible—a GNDN member—asserted that "today's ruling is yet another attack on popular policies, supported by the majority of Americans, by justices who were installed by Republicans and special interests who don't care about the future of our planet."

"The impacts of this decision will reverberate throughout the federal government and leave us an executive branch with a significantly reduced authority to protect or enforce basic safety regulations," Hatcher-Mays said.

"Congress must act—not just by passing critical climate justice legislation, but by also addressing the six existential threats in judicial robes who brought us this appalling decision," she added. "Congress must pass the Judiciary Act and add four seats to the Court."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Sanders Says Senate Bill 'Nowhere Near' Enough as Dems, GOP Tank His Amendments

The Vermont senator nevertheless supported final passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, calling it "a step forward" on climate and drug prices.

Jake Johnson ·


Senate Barely Approves Scaled Back Legislation on Climate, Taxes, Healthcare

But thanks to Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), there was a huge, last-minute win for the private equity and hedge fund industries

Common Dreams staff ·


'What the Hell is Wrong With Them': GOP Senators Kill $35 Cap on Insulin

'Republicans told millions of Americans who use insulin to go to hell.'

Common Dreams staff ·


World Faces 'Loaded Gun' on Hiroshima's 77th Anniversary

“We must ask: What have we learned from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city?”

Common Dreams staff ·


'Extremely Concerned': Shelling of Europe's Biggest Nuclear Power Plant More Worrying Than Chernobyl

Ukraine said parts of the facility were "seriously damaged" by Russian military strikes.

Common Dreams staff ·

Common Dreams Logo