Oakland, CA — Today marks the end of the worst United States Supreme Court term in more than a century. In one term, the fanatical and renegade majority has upended multiple cornerstones of constitutional law; overruled decades and, in some cases, centuries of precedent; and exacerbated the dangerous and terrifying division and chaos that are plaguing our country.
I issue this statement today because I cannot be silent as we are bombarded with this Court’s devastating, lawless, and barbarous rulings; silence plays a role in legitimizing and accepting them.
Much has already been said, including my own thoughts, about the Court’s shattering decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and relegated all people who can reproduce to second-class citizenship by stripping the legal right from the Constitution to control our reproduction, our bodies, and our freedom.
Tragically, that was not this Court’s only outrageous decision. This term, the Court has wrought colossal damage akin to an avalanche.
- Climate Catastrophe. The Court’s injustices also include West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, which stripped the EPA of its crucial authority to regulate climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions and undermined the ability of all federal regulatory agencies to issue rules that detail and make current the broad protections passed by Congress.
- Tribal Sovereignty. In Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, this Court rewrote centuries of Native American history, twisting or simply inventing facts and precedent to justify curtailing the true breadth of tribal sovereignty that had only recently been re-recognized through McGirt v. Oklahoma.
- Separation of Church and State. The Court decimated the separation of church and state, holding in Carson v. Makin that states must fund religious programs even if those programs openly discriminate against LGBTQIA+ or other minority students, and holding in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District that public schools must allow public prayer at school activities even if students feel coerced to participate.
- Gun Safety. The Court changed centuries of history to change precedent for regulating firearms in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, holding that the Second Amendment “elevate[d] above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms for self-defense,” suggesting that the right to carry a gun may carry more weight with this Court than the right to speak, assemble, or vote.
By virtue of these tragic and lawless decisions, we are less safe today because this Court has arbitrarily curtailed fundamental freedoms and rights
But these decisions are not simply separate, isolated tragedies. They are part of this Court’s cruel crusade to truncate and eliminate rights and freedoms, not its end. They are the result of half a century of work, of a longstanding, and growing, nationwide illiberal campaign against progress, a campaign to turn back the clock to a time when only the few were powerful and only the privileged were free. This campaign has been funded by American oligarchs, fueled by brutal ideologues, influenced a generation of lawyers and politicians, and trained and selected the judges—including the majority on this Court—who decide what our laws mean.
We will not be silent. And we must not ignore the larger system that is at play. We must call out the discrimination, greed, and corruption motivating these injustices, and employ the tools we have—our voices, our local and state laws, our coalitions—and unite to restore and protect our fundamental rights.