“Expansion would immediately restore balance to a court controlled by an unaccountable, unethical majority that has put their personal political bias above the law,” said New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.
The Supreme Court, a branch of the United States government that was established to be impartial, nonpartisan, just and fair, is now facing scrutiny for potential ethical violations that have called its future into question.
The Just Majority coalition hopes to change the plight of the highest court and salvage what is left of its reputation. The organization has launched a campaign to protect democracy and advance “fairness, justice and equality” within the Supreme Court, joined by other groups and activists who want to expand the number of justices that are appointed to the court’s bench.
Political strategist Alencia Johnson, 1063 West Broad founder and chief impact officer, is working with Just Majority to advocate for expanding the court.
“We want to make sure that there are enough justices to cover each of the different districts” across the nation, she told theGrio.
Johnson says that while some may be skeptical of whether Congress will support expanding the court, she asserts that it would be in the best interest of U.S. citizens.
“The American people have very little faith in the Supreme Court,” she contended, claiming if the size of the court increased, “justices will have to look at precedents and set their personal and political beliefs aside” when issuing decisions on behalf of Americans.
Color of Change President Rashad Robinson also backs Just Majority and told theGrio in a statement the court “needs critical reform.”
“As more and more stories surface about unethical and corrupt behavior, like those of Justice Gorsuch and Justice Thomas, it is impossible to think of them as unrelated to the fact that decisions coming out of this court tend to side with the wealthy and the powerful,” Robinson said, “often at the expense of both precedent and everyday people.”
Last month, ProPublica released a scathing report which showed for nearly three decades, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has received lavish gifts from a GOP donor, leaving many to question his integrity and the respectability of the court, as theGrio previously reported.
“For decades, conservative politicians and their powerful donors have worked to undermine democracy and used the Supreme Court to do it,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) during a press conference over the weekend.
She continued: “Seemingly every month or so a new scandal emerges, from Justice Thomas’ gifts … to Chief Justice Roberts refusing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee … Expansion would immediately restore balance to a court controlled by an unaccountable, unethical majority that has put their personal political bias above the law.”
Robinson stated that since the Supreme Court has “not done anything to reassure the public,” it will do what it can to salvage its reputation. He believes expanding the court is the answer.
“Structural reforms like expansion and a binding code of ethics are needed as accountability mechanisms to ensure that these policies are not bought and paid for,” he declared. “We are beyond the question of whether something should be done; that is clear. The question is whether Congress has the courage.”
For years many organizations have called for the Supreme Court to adopt a code of ethics, yet it has failed to do so, leaving many to believe that justices think they are above the law.
Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter, has also joined Just Majority in its fight to expand the court, to ensure that issues impacting the Black community are not met with bias, like the upcoming decisions in the affirmative action and voting rights cases.
“The court has been a force in advancing racial justice — such as in Brown v. Board of Education and other civil rights cases, but it has also been a significant tool for upholding systemic racism throughout history,” he said.
“By expanding the court and implementing reforms that ensure diverse representation on the bench, we can work towards a more just and equitable society. This is especially important for Black voters, who have been disproportionately impacted by voter suppression, gun violence, attacks on reproductive health and much more,” Albright pleaded.
Johnson told theGrio expanding the Supreme Court could take a while; however, she believes it is doable and would be a step in the right direction.
“I am hopeful that we will get to a place where we have expanded the court,” she said, “and there are people who are literally looking at precedents, looking to expand the rights of people and expanding the opportunity for justice for all people.”
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