On October 19th, the American Humanist Association hosted a webinar, Reining in a Rogue Supreme Court, to provide a humanist legal and policy analysis on the conservative 6-3 Supreme Court, the current docket, past decisions, and the desperate need for accountability moving forward to protect our shared pluralistic values.
As a result of the far-right capture of the Supreme Court, in the last couple of years we have already seen the legal right to abortion hamstrung, decades worth of Establishment Clause jurisprudence wiped out, and businesses given the right to openly discriminate against LGBTQIA consumers. This new reality, compounded by the bombshell reports from ProPublica detailing unbelievable corruption by several justices on the court, has brought us to an absolute crisis point. The only solution is swift and bold congressional action to protect the legitimacy of our judicial system. The prospect of Christian nationalists holding a safe majority on the court puts the most basic tenants of our secular constitution at absolute risk for generations to come. Meanwhile, the court’s conservatives and their billionaire cronies are working diligently—and successfully—to undermine secular democracy.
While there aren’t any specific separation of church and state cases before the Supreme Court at the moment, the implications of several of the current cases before the Court certainly hit at the secular nature of our Constitution and directly threaten humanist principles and values. The takeover of the high court by Christian nationalists threatens to bring about dangerous precedent regarding gun safety and violent offenders, and the future of agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in this term alone.
It’s chilling to consider what they will do in the years to come if they remain in power. Fortunately, Congress is starting to take seriously the threat of a rogue Supreme Court. In fact, as the result of activism from groups including the AHA, the Senate Judiciary Committee signaled this week that it is preparing to subpoena at least one of the dark money billionaires bankrolling several justices.
The webinar, featuring AHA’s Senior Staff Attorney Katie McKerall, Paralegal Stephanie Hansen, Policy Coordinator Isabella Russian, and myself, the Legal and Policy Director, provided a history of the make-up of the current court, broke down important cases that matter to humanist values from Sackett v. EPA to United States v. Rahimi to Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, and laid out clear policy prescriptions for reining in a high court that has become so tainted it is increasingly viewed as illegitimate to the American people.
Learn more about last month’s legal & policy webinar.
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