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Washington, D.C. – Today, for the first time in its history, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) announced its support for expanding the United States Supreme Court to include four additional seats. Adding seats to the Supreme Court would allow President Biden to rebalance the court and appoint justices who will work for the people, not deep-pocketed polluters and their allies. Our nation’s highest court has been packed by far-right interests waging an unprecedented judicial assault on our environment, our democracy, our equality, and our reproductive rights. Without a deliberate rebalancing, the Supreme Court — with its justices who serve for life — is positioned to continue imposing an extremist agenda for a generation to come.
Within weeks, the Supreme Court’s far-right majority is likely to severely curtail the EPA’s authority to fight climate change, overturn the long-settled precedent of Roe v. Wade, and undermine core doctrines allowing regulatory agencies like the EPA to do the jobs Congress created them for. This Court has repeatedly upheld voter suppression and gerrymandering while striking down common-sense limits on money in politics. Over the next year, it will consider cases that could narrow the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act and limit the ability of universities to overcome structural racism. The far-right majority has twisted the Court’s once-exceptional shadow docket into a routine tool of unaccountable judicial power over public policy, and has failed to address serious ethical lapses by its own members.
“This is the most partisan and corrupted Supreme Court in living memory — we cannot wait decades to correct it. Protections for our environment, our reproductive rights, our equality, and our democracy are only as strong as the judges who uphold them, and the majority on this captured Court have shown time and again they will promote their own extreme ideological agenda over the rights of people in this country. We have to stand up for our rights to breathe clean air and drink clean water, have our votes counted, make our own health decisions and more,” said Doug Lindner, Advocacy Director for Judiciary & Democracy. “Now is the time for Congress to rebalance the scales for a just, honorable, and equitable Supreme Court that will hold big polluting corporations accountable instead of doing their bidding; enforce voting rights instead of attacking them; and protect the health and safety of our communities, including the air we breathe and the water we drink. Communities historically excluded in our country already carry the greatest burdens from the climate crisis, from pollution, from attacks on democracy, and from racist systemic inequality. We will fight for our communities by fighting for a Supreme Court that works for the people.”
Our rights to clean air and clean water, to equal justice and equal votes, to decide for ourselves whether to have children and whom to marry, depend on healthy institutions led by ethical public servants committed to democracy and the rule of law. Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell and Charles Grassley undermined centuries of tradition when they refused to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination and allowed Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote in 2016, to appoint a series of justices who have pushed the Court to an ideological extreme after misleading the U.S. Senate and the public on their positions on settled case law like Roe vs. Wade. Our Constitution gives Congress the power to set the number of Justices on the Supreme Court, as it did in laws signed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and others. The time has come to do so again.