After the Supreme Court struck down several Biden administration initiatives, from affirmative action in college admissions to reversing his plans for student loan forgiveness, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for the number of justices on the bench to be increased.
This would enable Biden to appoint masses more judges in order to skew the court to more liberal persuasions than the current make-up.
On CNN on Sunday, AOC declared the court needs a check on its power, likely so that the executive office in the White House can push through whatever they want without any checks on its power. Biden has said he doesn't support expanding the court, but his words have not proved to be substantially definitive during his time in office.
"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, from the overturning of abortion rights, to the ruling that discrimination and, frankly, stripping the full personhood and dignity of LGBTQ people in the United States," she said.
AOC claimed the court was "expanding their role into acting as though they are Congress," but their job is to interpret the laws Congress drafts and weigh them against the Constitution at such time as cases are brought that challenge the law.
AOC called that "an expansion of power that we really must be focusing on, the danger of this court and the abuse of power in this court, particularly as it—particularly as it is related to the entanglements around conflicts of interest as well." AOC wants to limit the power of the court to interpret the laws.
Massachusetts' Ayanna Pressley said, "They continue to overturn the will of the majority of the people and to make history for all the wrong reasons, legislating from the bench and being political from the bench." She went further, calling it "nothing but intersectional oppression."
How do they plan to get the court to do their bidding instead of upholding the words of the Constitution? AOC wants to impeach Supreme Court justices, and she thinks they should be investigated for "misconduct, overreach, and abuse of power."
The Constitution lays out the way power must be checked and balanced in the American system, and Congress' check on that power is through approving nominations of justices to serve on the bench. But for AOC, Congress should have more say in how the court functions, is governed, and the decisions they make.
Biden said "this is not a normal court," and promised to find a workaround for his student loan forgiveness plans. He claimed that "the court misinterpreted the Constitution." This new plan, he said, will be grounded in the Higher Education Act, so that the Department of Education can forgive the loans directly. He said "it will take longer, but we're getting on it right away." The previous attempt to remove the loan debt was brought under the HEROES Act.
"We hold today that the Act allows the Secretary to 'waive or modify' existing statutory or regulatory provisions applicable to financial assistance programs under the Education Act, not to rewrite that statute from the ground up," Justice Roberts said in his opinion.
In response, AOC called for an investigation into Roberts, saying "I believe that if Justice—if Chief John Roberts will not come before Congress for an investigation voluntarily, I believe that we should be considering subpoenas. We should be considering investigations. We must pass much more binding and stringent ethics guidelines where we see members of Congress—where we see members of the Supreme Court potentially breaking the law."
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