Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent member of the Democratic “Squad,” launched a scathing critique of the United States Supreme Court, accusing it of an “abuse of power.” Her remarks came in response to recent groundbreaking rulings that rejected affirmative action and President Joe Biden’s plan to alleviate student loan debt. To curtail the justices’ influence, she proposed implementing the mechanisms of impeachment and subpoenas.
During her appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ocasio-Cortez asserted that “the Supreme Court has far exceeded its authority.” She further expressed the need for discussions on judicial review as a means of ensuring checks and balances on the court.
This past week, the Supreme Court issued its final decisions for the current term, including the rejection of race as a factor in admissions, a ruling in favor of a Christian web designer’s right to refuse making a same-sex wedding website, and the invalidation of President Biden’s student loan debt cancellation plan. Democrats have interpreted these verdicts as an attack on progressive values and have condemned the court as “illegitimate.”
Ocasio-Cortez argued on Sunday that “these rulings signal a dangerous shift toward authoritarianism and a consolidation of power within the courts.” She referred to recent judgments that favored the government, citing Justice Elena Kagan’s statement that the court was assuming legislative power. Ocasio-Cortez has been a staunch advocate for court-packing and limiting the court’s authority.
The Democratic representative emphasized the consideration of subpoenas and impeachment if Chief Justice Roberts refused to voluntarily appear before Congress for an investigation. They called for stricter ethics guidelines and greater scrutiny of potential legal violations by Supreme Court members, citing an instance involving Clarence Thomas and his refusal to recuse himself from cases involving his wife.
Ocasio-Cortez underlined the importance of holding the Supreme Court accountable through various measures to address misconduct, overreach, and abuse of authority. They expressed concerns about the court’s diminishing legitimacy, which poses a significant threat to the democratic system as a whole.
In contrast, President Trump recently reiterated his opposition to expanding the size of the court, stating during an MSNBC interview that progressive efforts to do so could perpetually politicize the institution in an unhealthy manner, as Vice President Joe Biden had also expressed.
Following the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling, Ocasio-Cortez sparked controversy by suggesting that the court lacked seriousness in its “ludicrous ‘colorblindness’ claims” since it did not address legacy admissions. On Twitter, she highlighted the disproportionately high percentage of white legacy applicants at Harvard and criticized the court for not addressing the issue.
Critics on social media, however, pointed out that the topic of legacy admissions was not currently under consideration by the court.