US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) has accused the Supreme Court of abusing its power with “authoritarian” rulings on issues such as abortion, LGBTQ protections, and race-based college admissions. She argued that lawmakers should consider impeaching justices if they break the law.
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez called for Chief Justice John Roberts to voluntarily testify in a congressional probe into alleged ethics violations by Supreme Court judges. If he does not comply, she suggested that lawmakers should issue subpoenas to demand answers. The congresswoman also called for stricter ethics guidelines to maintain a proper balance of power among the three branches of government.
“There also must be impeachment on the table,” Ocasio-Cortez emphasized. “We have a broad level of tools to deal with misconduct, overreach, and abuse of power.”
Ocasio-Cortez made these comments in response to a series of rulings by the Supreme Court last week. The court struck down President Joe Biden’s plan to eliminate $400 billion in student loan debt, blocked colleges from considering skin color in the admissions process, and upheld the free-speech rights of a Christian graphic artist who declined to provide services for same-sex weddings. Ocasio-Cortez also mentioned the court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark ruling that protected abortion rights.
“The courts, if they were to proceed without any check on their power, without any balance on their power, then we will start to see an undemocratic and, frankly, dangerous authoritarian expansion of power in the Supreme Court, which is what we are seeing now,” Ocasio-Cortez warned.
She highlighted how the court’s ruling on refusing services for same-sex weddings undermined “the full personhood and dignity of LGBTQ people,” adding that these types of rulings signaled a dangerous creep towards authoritarianism and centralization of power in the court.
Ocasio-Cortez is not alone in her criticism of the Supreme Court. Other members of the far-left “Squad” group of Democrat representatives have called for expanding the court to 15 justices. They argue that democracy is in crisis because six of the nine current judges were appointed by Republican presidents. However, President Biden, who would have the opportunity to appoint six left-leaning justices in such a scenario, expressed concerns that expanding the court would politicize the judicial branch.
The debate over the role and power of the Supreme Court continues to intensify, with lawmakers and legal experts expressing different opinions on how to address concerns related to alleged abuse of power and ethical misconduct within the court. The issue of balance and checks within the three branches of government remains an important topic of discussion and potential reform.