AFJ URGES DEBATE MODERATORS TO PRESS CANDIDATES ON SUPREME COURT NOMINEES
Press ContactRichard Wexler firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 2, 2012: As the United States Supreme Court begins its new term, and with the first presidential candidates’ debate scheduled for tomorrow night, the Alliance for Justice is urging the moderators of the debates to press the candidates for answers about the kinds of people they would nominate to the Court.
“Under Chief Justice John Roberts, the percentage of cases in which decisions are reached by a vote of 5 to 4 is the highest in history,” AFJ President Nan Aron wrote in the letter, sent to moderators Jim Lehrer, Martha Raddatz, Candy Crowley and Bob Schieffer on Oct. 1. “So even if he fills only one vacancy, the next president may change the direction of the court, and America, for generations.
“Of course candidates have stock answers for any question about the Supreme Court,” Aron wrote. “We hope you will press them to go beyond the usual boilerplate.”
The letter, available online here, coincides with the formal release of AFJ’s new documentary, Unequal Justice: The Relentless Rise of the 1% Court.
“The term underway now may well see the culmination of a 40-year campaign on behalf of big business to put its interests ahead of those of labor and consumers,” Aron said in a statement. “Over several terms the court majority has put the thumb of big business on the scales of justice, repeatedly voting to roll back protections for workers and consumers. Over and over, these were 5 to 4 votes.
“With polling showing the public increasingly fearful that corporations are receiving favorable treatment, the Court risks drifting further from the American mainstream and jeopardizing the legitimacy of its decisions,” Aron said.
In a series of other cases, discussed in this publication from the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, prohibitions against discrimination and protections for consumers were among the rights upheld by votes of only 5 to 4.
“The stakes are likely to get even higher very soon,” Aron said. “In the term now underway, the Supreme Court is likely to hear a challenge to the heart of one of America’s most important civil rights laws, the Voting Rights Act.
“And the current majority appears to have an even bigger target in its sights. As the decision of Chief Justice Roberts in the Affordable Care Act case makes clear, the majority wants to revise radically how the Court interprets the Constitution’s commerce clause, the clause that has formed the legal foundation for much of the infrastructure of progressive reform from the New Deal to the Great Society.”
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. AFJ works to ensure that the federal judiciary advances core constitutional values, preserves human rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans. It is the leading expert on the legal framework for nonprofit advocacy efforts, providing definitive information, resources, and technical assistance that encourages organizations and their funding partners to fully exercise their right to be active participants in the democratic process. AFJ is based in Washington, D.C.