WASHINGTON, D.C., September 2, 2021 – AFJ Action Campaign announced today its commitment to six-figure advocacy campaigns in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona highlighting yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to ignore long-established precedent and overrule Roe v. Wade. Because of that decision, which was issued by five ultraconservative justices — including all three Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — the people of Texas no longer have a full constitutional right to an abortion. AFJAC expects that the Court’s decision will lead to further unconstitutional abortion bans around the country, and AFJAC may launch additional campaigns into other states as part of its fight to maintain and strengthen a pro-Roe majority in the U.S. Senate.
Additionally, AFJAC also announced today that it is launching a new campaign focused on voter education and mobilization around state courts. As the federal judiciary retreats from the Constitution’s unwavering commitment to liberty and bodily autonomy, state courts will become ground zero in this fight. AFJAC will ensure that concerned citizens are made aware of what state courts can and should do in the fight to preserve people’s safe and constitutional access to reproductive healthcare.
The Court’s 5–4 decision is the culmination of a forty-year campaign by the Republican Party, Federalist Society, and the ultraconservative members of the Court to overturn Roe. The decision opens the door for other Republican-led states to quickly enact laws similar to SB8 in Texas. That law bans abortion at six weeks — before many people even know they are pregnant, and before 85 to 90 percent of abortions occur — and outsources enforcement to anti-abortion extremists using public bounties. There are no exceptions in the bill for rape, incest, or the safety of the parent.
Three of the five ultraconservative justices that signed on to the Court’s decision, as well as two of the Fifth Circuit judges who blocked a district court hearing into the constitutionality of the law, were appointed by President Donald Trump. During his election campaign and presidency, Trump promised that overturning Roe “will happen automatically” because he put “pro-life justices on the court.”
AFJAC vigorously opposed the confirmation of Justices Thomas and Alito and each of Trump’s Supreme Court justices. Each of these jurists was already on-record in favor of overturning Roe. An AFJAC fact sheet including each of the Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justices’ pre-confirmation records on Roe can be found here.
AFJAC also opposed the Trump-appointed Fifth Circuit judges Duncan and Engelhardt and Reagan appointee Edith Jones, who first overruled the stay on the Texas abortion ban made their decision possible.
Dissenting from yesterday’s decision, Justice Sonya Sotomayor called the Court’s actions “stunning.” She noted that, despite being presented with an “application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law,” the Court’s ultraconservative bloc “opted to bury their heads in the sand.” Justice Elena Kagan also harshly criticized the Court’s ultraconservatives for issuing the decision under cover of darkness using the Court’s “shadow-docket” to overturn nearly 50 years of Supreme Court precedent. Kagan underscored that the decision is “emblematic” of the Court’s recent unprincipled and lawless shadow-docket decisions, which “every day [become] more un-reasoned, inconsistent, and impossible to defend.”
Alliance for Justice Action Campaign President Nan Aron issued the following statement:
“By overturning Roe, the Court has ensured that innocent people will die in their pursuit of critically important and constitutionally protected reproductive healthcare. This is a lawless decision from an out-of-control Court, and we are preparing to go to war to protect our constitutional rights and freedoms. Republicans must be held accountable for confirming the three illegitimate Trump justices that made this decision possible, and they are responsible for this horrendous moment in our nation’s history. AFJAC will ensure that these Republican senators remember whose side they were on come election day in November 2022.
“Rising to this moment demands rapid action. We must protect our Court and Constitution by adding justices to the Supreme Court that will faithfully observe the Constitution and protect the rule of law. Congress must also expeditiously pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to invalidate SB8, and protect against future abortion bans in other states. Finally, the Biden administration and Senate Democrats must continue to prioritize filling every vacancy on the federal bench by 2022. As with President Biden’s nominees thus far, those judges should have a demonstrated commitment to equal justice, including equality for women and other vulnerable populations.”