- Download the full report here
Five conservative United States Supreme Court justices have taken judicial overreach to an unprecedented and dangerous new level, according to a report released Wednesday by Alliance for Justice.
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently called the current Supreme Court ‘ … one of the most activist courts in history.’ We agree,” said AFJ Justice Programs Director Michelle Schwartz. “Conservatives preach judicial restraint, but, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court majority routinely overreaches in pursuit of an ideological agenda.”
The most prominent recent example of the Court’s activism is the majority’s decision to strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “We agree with Justice Ginsburg’s description of that decision,” Schwartz said. “She called it ‘stunning in its activism.’”
According to the report, the Court majority:
“…has rewritten the rules and gone to bat for a conservative agenda that shields the most powerful interests in American society at the expense of the most vulnerable.
“The courthouse doors are increasingly shut to those who have been harmed by corporate malfeasance and powerful interests, because the Roberts Court has changed long-standing rules of the game … At the same time, the Court has ignored settled precedent to undermine, or even completely eviscerate, critical civil and human rights, consumer protection, environmental, and other laws that are contrary to a conservative agenda.”
In cases after case, according to AFJ’s report, the current Supreme Court majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts:
- Decides to hear cases about legal issues which do not currently warrant Supreme Court review.
- Answers questions not presented to the court, thereby issuing broad, new legal rules without consistency, logic or fairness to the parties involved.
- Decides factual issues that should be left to lower courts and Congress.
The report illustrates these practices through brief analyses of more than a dozen cases decided in recent years, and notes that the Court will hear several more in the term beginning in October that threaten additional overreach by the justices.
Alliance for Justice is a national association of over 100 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society. Through our justice programs, we lead the progressive community in the fight for a fair judiciary, and through our advocacy programs, we help nonprofits and foundations to realize their advocacy potential.