In an op-ed published in The Hill, People For the American Way Senior Fellow Elliot Mincberg discusses the danger posed in the coming months and years by a right-wing Supreme Court majority after a recent address from Justice Samuel Alito to members of the Federalist Society. Mincberg argues that Alito’s speech gave right-wing litigants, including those attempting to challenge COVID-19 safety measures, gun safety reforms, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights and more the “green light” to curtail Americans’ civil rights, liberties and other protections.
Descriptions of Alito’s 30-minute oration have included phrases like ultrapartisan, incendiary, unusually political, tendentious and the judicial equivalent of a Trump rally. These things are all true. Even more ominously, it was also an engraved invitation from Alito to far-right litigants who can hardly wait to take advantage of the Court’s strengthened right-wing majority to pursue such pet projects as overturning LGBTQ and reproductive rights….
To far-right advocates, this is akin to saying the buffet is open…
So, what’s to be done?
At a minimum, all this should ratchet up pressure on the Biden administration to prioritize the filling of forthcoming judicial vacancies. Although there are no vacancies on the Supreme Court at the moment — as a result of Republicans’ rush to put Justice Barrett on the court after the recent death of Justice Ginsburg — the court hears only a small number of cases each year. For most people, federal courts of appeal are the courts of last resort. Although there are more than 50 Trump judges on those courts, appointing fair-minded judges to help counteract their views is critical.
Read the full op-ed here.