On July 23, People For the American Way held a virtual member briefing to discuss the Supreme Court’s decisions and alarming trends following its 2019-2020 term. PFAW President Ben Jealous joined PFAW Executive Vice President of Policy and Program Marge Baker, Senior Legislative Counsel Paul Gordon, Senior Fellow Elliot Mincberg, and Senior Director of Outreach and Public Engagement Diallo Brooks for the conversation about a series of recent Supreme Court opinions and dissents that helped to advance many of the Far Right’s long-term goals.
Jealous kicked off the event with remarks on how this term confirmed exactly what fair courts advocates had warned about the influence of Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the trajectory of the Court majority’s jurisprudence. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh pulled the Court to the right on a number of issues, and even in opinions that came to the correct legal conclusion, as was the case in the DACA and LGBTQ rights cases, their writing opened the door for future attacks on our rights and civil liberties, which could disproportionately harm vulnerable communities. Jealous reminded members that now, more than ever, it’s crucial to vote in 2020 and vote for candidates that will fight for fair-minded jurists on the courts.
Baker, Gordon, Mincberg, and Brooks then had a hearty discussion about how other Court decisions made the 2019-2020 term a blockbuster for abortion rights, investigations into presidential power, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and more. Mincberg and Gordon contextualized wins on immigrant and LGBTQ rights by highlighting that overall, this term saw the far-right justices advance their efforts to weaken the wall between church and state and to transform religious liberty protections from a shield to protect people into a sword to harm others.
As we turn toward the 2020 election, less than 100 days away now, Brooks re-emphasized the importance of voting with an eye toward the composition of the Supreme Court and lower courts. Progressives cannot allow Donald Trump to appoint yet another right-wing extremist to the highest court in the land, he said, and the greatest tool we have in pushing back against future far-right appointments is voting for Senate and presidential candidates who will prioritize putting fair-minded constitutionalists on our courts.
You can watch the entire member briefing below:
Learn more about PFAW’s analysis of the 2019-2020 SCOTUS term by reviewing Paul Gordon’s report Kavanaugh Pleases the Base: The Supreme Court’s 2019-2020 Term and connect with ways to get involved in the fight to protect our courts with the Vote the Courts campaign.