What Congress Can Do to Reform the Court

3 mins read

Generations of Americans have fought hard for our freedoms and won legal protection of our civil rights through the federal courts, codified by Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rulings when it had a liberal majority from the 1950s through the 1970s. During the twentieth century, when those fundamental civil and human rights were challenged by right-wing state judges, they were constrained by SCOTUS rulings. As long as that continued working, Democratic Party leaders treated our Supreme Court as beyond reproach and allowed our judicial branch to operate largely unchecked.

Right-wing Republican corporate donors saw an opportunity in that. They established the Federalist Society in 1982 to push back on the “rights revolution” of the 1950s–1970s and made that a campaign issue for decades through appealing to anti-abortion Christian nationalists and neo-Confederate gun hoarders. Republican donors poured billions into incubating and seating right-wing federal judges in order to capture SCOTUS to achieve through the Court what they couldn’t get through the elected branches of government. Last summer gave us all a rude awakening as to how far MAGA Republican judges would go to attack our freedoms, families, and futures, and they have not stopped. 

Article III of our Constitution gives Congress the power to determine the structure and funding of the federal judiciary through the laws it passes. Today pro-democracy activists are reminding us of the necessity of rebalancing our Supreme Court, which could be done by expanding the number of seats, as well as enacting ethics reforms and term limits for justices. SCOTUS reform will be an important part of the campaign to protect our democracy in 2024, so we have prepared a guide to the key issues and resources.

Read about what Congress can do to rein in the Supreme Court’s corruption and bring about reform on our blog.

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, June 8, 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!

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 is a graphic used by Democracy Docket in their article on Supreme Court expansion.

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Since the January 2017, more than 4,000 San Franciscans have united as Indivisible SF to march in the Women's Marches, protest the Muslim Ban, meet regularly with our Members of Congress, and make thousands of phone calls to their offices to pressure them to do everything in their power to counter the policies and politics of Trumpism. There is much work in progress and many actions to come.

Members of Indivisible SF are defined by our action and find solidarity in our shared opposition to Trump and Trumpism. Each of us explicitly reserves our individual stances on specific issues for other forums as we believe resisting Trump is more important than any single issue. We adhere to a Code of Conduct that welcomes and respects everybody.

Members of Indivisible SF come from all kinds of backgrounds and political persuasions. Some of us are first-time activists and others have been at this for decades. We are citizens and non-citizens. Most importantly, we are all patriots that want the best for our country and are willing to work for it.

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