The Supreme Court is supposed to be the last line of defense against attacks on our fundamental freedoms and constitutional rights. But today’s court does not honor that solemn duty. Instead, the ultraconservative supermajority on the bench prioritizes corporate interests, ultrawealthy donors, and hyperpartisan political outcomes.
John Roberts' Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, overturned Roe v. Wade, blocked President Biden’s pandemic eviction moratorium, reinstated Donald Trump’s cruel “Remain in Mexico” policy, curtailed workers’ rights to organize, allowed partisan gerrymandering, and so much more. The court is issuing many of these decisions via the shadow docket, emergency rulings that are unsigned and issued without hearing oral arguments—and in some cases, quite literally stealing away our human rights like a thief in the night.
At the same time, the list of scandals erupting around conservative justices is only getting longer. Clarence Thomas secretly accepted millions of dollars' worth of lavish gifts from a billionaire megadonor. Brett Kavanaugh had an alarming 83 ethics complaints filed against him even before being confirmed. Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett have refused to recuse themselves from cases where there is a potential conflict of interest, and John Roberts' wife has been paid millions by firms with cases before the court.
Sign if you agree: Congress must restore balance to the nation's highest court. It's time to expand the Supreme Court.
The makeup of this Supreme Court is no accident. Republicans and far-right groups like the Federalist Society have spent decades working to take over the judiciary in an attempt to cement extremism on the bench, even going so far as to steal two Supreme Court seats during the Trump administration—first by denying Merrick Garland a fair hearing and vote, and then by hypocritically ramming through Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation while Americans were casting votes to choose the next president and determine the composition of the Senate.
The Constitution allows Congress to change the number of justices, and lawmakers have done so seven times throughout American history. Adding seats to the court is a practical, proportional response that would allow us to stop the harm being done and restore its balance and integrity.
Democrats have reintroduced the Judiciary Act of 2023, legislation that would expand the Supreme Court by adding four seats to create a 13-justice bench. “The Supreme Court is a cesspool of corruption devastating our communities. Because of the decisions made by an unethical and illegitimate majority, my constituents are unable to access abortion care, have weaker labor protections, are more vulnerable to voter suppression, and are subjected to a racist legal system,” said Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri in a statement. “As lawmakers, we have a mandate to ensure our rights are not stripped away by bought-and-paid-for judges trying to implement a fascist agenda.”
The Judiciary Act was first introduced in 2021. Now, despite the fact that there are fewer Democrats in Congress than there were last session, the Judiciary Act has more supporters today than it ever has before.
“To address the injustice of stolen seats and broken trust, we must expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court and confirm fair-minded jurists committed to equal justice for all. The current situation requires congressional intervention," explains Kimberly Humphrey, legal director of Alliance for Justice, in a statement. "Court expansion is not simply about a rebuff of bad decisions; it is necessary to restore fairness, integrity and respect for the rule of law at the pinnacle of our justice system. The nation's highest court has been captured and rigged by radical extremists that flaunt a commitment to their partisan agenda with extreme rulings departing from long-standing precedent and repeated inaction after several new bombshell allegations of ethics violations."
Humphrey is right. In the face of an unaccountable, unethical majority on the Supreme Court determined to strip Americans of our freedoms, we need Congress to deliver judicial reforms necessary to protect our democracy. That starts with expanding the court.
Sign the petition: Congress must expand the Supreme Court.