The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ryan Thomas
(763) 954-0470

Sen. Markey, Rep. Jones Join Progressive Groups in Urging Congress to Expand the Supreme Court

Advocates and activists applaud introduction of Judiciary Act of 2021.


Earlier today, following the announcement that Democratic lawmakers have introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021 to expand the United States Supreme Court by adding four seats to the bench, members of the Unrig the Courts coalition joined Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) to urge Congress to pass the historic bill.

The founding members of the Unrig the Courts coalition--including Take Back the Court, Stand Up America, Indivisible, and Demand Justice--applauded the bill's introduction and urged lawmakers in both chambers to pass the legislation to restore balance to the Supreme Court.

"Republicans stole the Court's majority, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation completing their crime spree," said Senator Markey. "Of all the damage Donald Trump did to our Constitution, this stands as one of his greatest travesties. Senate Republicans have politicized the Supreme Court, undermined its legitimacy, and threatened the rights of millions of Americans, especially people of color, women, and our immigrant communities. This legislation will restore the Court's balance and public standing and begin to repair the damage done to our judiciary and democracy, and we should abolish the filibuster to ensure we can pass it. I thank Chairman Nadler, and Reps. Johnson and Jones for their partnership on this legislation that will ensure the Supreme Court reflects the value of equal justice under law, not politics."

"Our democracy is hanging by a thread. And the far-right majority on the U.S. Supreme Court is cutting it," said Congressman Jones. "From Citizens United to Shelby County to Rucho, the Court has been hostile to democracy itself. The majority's doctrine is clear: if a law suppresses the right to vote, it is constitutional; if a law protects the right to vote, especially for Black and brown voters, it is unconstitutional. The American people have had enough. To restore power to the people, we must expand the Supreme Court. Today, I am proud to introduce the Judiciary Act of 2021 to do just that."

"Everything we care about is at risk if we don't get this bill passed to expand the Court -- from the vital democracy protections in HR1 to progress on climate change, racial justice, reproductive freedom, and more," said Aaron Belkin, Director of Take Back the Court. "Chairman Nadler, Senator Markey, Chairman Johnson and Representative Jones are heroes. And if American democracy survives this moment, future generations will look back on them as the leaders who recognized the threat of the stolen Court, and then did something about it. I thank them so much for their leadership and their courage, and for giving democracy a fighting chance."

"As an organization that works to protect voting rights, we are particularly concerned about the current imbalance on our nation's highest court. Not only is the current Supreme Court unrepresentative of the diversity of our country, it has repeatedly undermined the role of American voters in our democracy by striking down voting rights protections and opening the floodgates of unlimited corporate money in our elections," said Sean Eldridge, Founder and President of Stand Up America. "With Republicans introducing 361 voter suppression bills in 47 states in the past three months, it is more urgent than ever to expand our nation's highest court in order to protect voting rights and ensure free and fair elections."

"The Supreme Court derives its legitimacy from the trust that we all place in it. But that trust has been eroded thanks to a decades-long assault on our judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular by corporate interests, conservative dark money groups, and their Republican enablers in Congress. The last four years especially showed just how little regard Republicans, led by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, have for an apolitical judiciary. Trump and McConnell confirmed hundreds of judges, including three Supreme Court justices, all of whom were handpicked because of their loyalty not to the constitution, but to conservative political outcomes. The only way to forward, the only way to build back trust in the Supreme Court, is to add seats," said Meagan Hatcher Mays, Director of Democracy Policy at Indivisible. "Democrats did not wake up this morning and say, 'You know what might be fun? To add seats to the Supreme Court. For no reason, I just feel like it.' No. This is happening because Mitch McConnell's radical maneuvers to rig our courts require immediate action. And that starts with passing the Judiciary Act of 2021."

"Democrats are done ceding the Supreme Court to Republicans," said Chris Kang, Co-Founder and Chief Counsel of Demand Justice. "We have a Supreme Court that is tilted to partisan and corporate interests, and we must restore balance by adding four seats. We're prepared to go neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, member to member, senator to senator, until we gain a majority of support in both the House and the Senate to pass this legislation. We only have to look at the trajectory of the debate over filibuster reform to see how quickly this conversation can move. A year ago, filibuster reform had only a handful of champions and a long way to go. Today, we have a handful of champions and we're prepared to go the distance."

The Judiciary Act of 2021 would restore balance to the nation's highest court after four years of norm-breaking actions by Republicans led to its current composition and greatly damaged the Court's standing in the eyes of the American people. The legislation expands the Court by creating a 13-justice Supreme Court in order to restore its balance, integrity, and independence.

Stand Up America is a progressive advocacy organization with over two million community members across the country. Focused on grassroots advocacy to strengthen our democracy and oppose Trump's corrupt agenda, Stand Up America has driven over 600,000 phone calls to Congress and mobilized tens of thousands of protestors across the country.