We usually don’t issue Calls to Action for bills that will not pass, because we want you to feel empowered by the positive effect your calls can have. However, our Members of Congress need to hear that all of us care about Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ethics reform. For far too long, senior Democrats in Congress have treated our judicial branch as beyond reproach, perhaps out of respect for the separation of powers in our Constitution. Republicans have been far less timid about active interference in the judiciary branch. Republican donors have put billions of dollars behind their efforts to control our judicial branch and we now have a six–three right-wing Supreme Court. National faith in SCOTUS was shaken by the recent ProPublica deep dive into Justice Thomas’s lucrative relationship with billionaire Harlan Crow, which began thirty years ago—after Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court.
SCOTUS isn’t bound by the same ethical rules that the rest of our federal judiciary has to follow; the justices are supposed to declare gifts they receive but aren’t subjected to punitive action for failing to do so. Justices Thomas, Kavanaugh, and Gorsuch have made insufficient disclosures. Justices Roberts and Thomas have not recused themselves when special interests of their spouses were involved in cases before them.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin asked Chief Justice Roberts to investigate Justice Thomas’s ethical lapses. Senator Whitehouse asked Roberts to refer the matter to the Judicial Conference for review. Senator Durbin then invited Chief Justice Roberts to testify to the Senate about these issues. SCOTUS dismissed that request in a letter citing separation of powers concerns, attesting that its current guidelines were sufficient. Republicans have an iron grip on SCOTUS, so they have been barking about Democrats raising these ethical concerns for purely political reasons.
However, Article III of our Constitution gives Congress the power to determine the structure and funding of the federal judiciary through the laws it passes. Congress has the Constitutional power to impose on SCOTUS the same ethics rules that govern all other federal judges. Let our Members of Congress know you want them to use that power.
Contact your Members of Congress and tell them: Pass the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act of 2023 to curb Supreme Court Corruption.
Keep up your protection: Get another bivalent booster against COVID-19!
The protection you get from vaccination gradually wanes over time, so it’s important to regularly get boosters to maintain a high level of protection against COVID-19.
Everyone six years or older can get a bivalent booster if they haven’t already. If you’re sixty-five or older, or of any age and immunocompromised, you can now receive an additional bivalent booster following your previous dose, per updated CDC guidance. The California Department of Public Health has detailed, up-to-date information on when you can get your next booster.
The updated guidance also simplifies the schedule to remove the use of the outdated original monovalent (single-strain) vaccines. Now the bivalent vaccines are the only mRNA vaccines recommended in the United States. If you or your child only recently started the monovalent series, you’ll finish it with a bivalent dose.
The bivalent vaccines, introduced last year, provide better protection against more recent strains of the virus that causes COVID-19, particularly the Omicron strains. Keep up your protection by keeping up to date on your vaccines.
Continue to support Pajaro farm workers through long recovery
Locally, Pajaro residents still need our help after the city residents had to evacuate in the middle of the night when the Pajaro River levee broke on March 11 and flooded their homes and fields.
While FEMA aid is critical and will be helpful, it’s not straightforward or convenient, nor does it include a significant portion of those living in Pajaro, because they are undocumented. Indeed, the aid is piecemeal. The livelihood of all the farm workers remains at great risk.
To continue to help those who face a long and difficult recovery, many community groups are providing cash, clothing, food, and cleanup supplies to the victims of this disaster, and they could still use your financial support:
Center for Farmworker Families provides direct support to farmworkers (donation page)Santa Cruz Community Ventures Undocufund Raíces y CariñoWatsonville Campesino Appreciation Caravan GoFundMeSecond Harvest Food BankCommunity Foundation of Santa Cruz Disaster FundCommunity Foundation for Monterey County Storm Relief Fund
If you’re interested in participating in activities like drafting letters to our Members of Congress and developing our strategy for influencing them, the Indivisible SF Federal Working Group is where it happens.
Indivisible SF Federal Working Group: Thursday, May 25, 7:30–9 PM. Planning meeting where we discuss strategy to influence our Members of Congress and the Biden administration to enact a progressive agenda. Meeting starts promptly at 7:30 PM. All are welcome. Register here!
SURJ SF Dialogue: Accountability Through Collective Action: Sunday, June 4, Noon–1:30 PM. SURJ SF Dialogues are participatory events designed for, but not exclusive to, white people committed to anti-racism who want to examine issues of identity, privilege, racism, and white supremacy. Individuals at all stages of their anti-racist journey are invited to join us. This Dialogue will explore what building accountability relationships with BIPOC organizations engaged in racial justice work looks like and why it is so important. Register here.
About this week’s photo
If you’ve seen our newsletter posts on Twitter and Facebook, you might have noticed that we include a photo or graphic with each issue.
This week’s image of a photo of demonstrators outside of the Supreme Court following the leak of its draft Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. The photo was taken by Anna Johnson for AP Photo and was featured in Politico’s article on the draft decision.
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