WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after the close of the 2021 Supreme Court term year:
“Last week, the Supreme Court finished one of the most consequential and destructive terms in recent decades. The Senate created a vacuum by upholding the filibuster and allowing the minority to block necessary legislation — and this radical Supreme Court has stepped into that vacuum, overturning long-settled precedents, wreaking havoc on our country, and increasingly losing legitimacy.
“The list of precedents nullified and democratic institutions and principles this Supreme Court gutted or fully overturned this term is horrifying: the separation of church and state, constitutional protections in the 100-mile border zone, the rights of those convicted on death row, state-level conceal carry laws, Miranda rights, the power of federal agencies tasked with protecting our health and the environment, and the legal right to abortion. 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. They won’t stop here: 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.
“These extreme decisions are the result of a decades-long project to stack the bench with adherents to a right-wing agenda and overrule precedent and the will of the American people. The majority has made clear it has no concern for ethics; there is evidence that a sitting justice’s wife was involved in efforts to overturn a free and fair presidential election, and when legal challenges on that very issue came before the court, the justice did not recuse himself. Three others appear to have misled the Senate Judiciary Committee about Roe v. Wade being settled precedent. The Supreme Court has overreached its authority and destroyed its legitimacy.“We do not have to simply accept the devastation of these rulings. The constitution created three co-equal branches of government, vesting the people’s elected representatives with the broad authority to check and balance a judiciary that oversteps its mandate. That’s why Congress has an obligation to respond, and do so quickly. We must pass Representatives Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Hank Johnson (GA-04), and Mondaire Jones (NY-17)’s Judiciary Act to add justices and expand the Supreme Court, and their Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency (SCERT) Act to institute a Supreme Court ethics and recusal standard and require disclosure of lobbying and dark money interests. We must pass the Judicial Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act, my bill with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to overhaul our nation’s judicial ethics laws and restore public faith in our court system. In the Judiciary Committee, we must continue our critical oversight obligations and hold additional hearings on the violations of ethics and transparency the Supreme Court has committed. We must hold these rogue justices to account.”