New Polling: Overwhelming Support for Accountability and Code of Ethics for SCOTUS Justices

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Zack Ford, Press Secretary
(202) 464-7370 / zack.ford@afjac.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 17, 2023 – New polling from the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, Stand Up America, and End Citizens United finds 78% of respondents want Congress to take action to impose a code of ethics and create greater accountability for the U.S. Supreme Court justices.

The polling results show Americans believe the Supreme Court should be the gold standard for judicial ethics, and the justices are falling far short of that standard, which is informed heavily by disapproval of the justices’ unethical behavior. Confidence in the Supreme Court has fallen dramatically, with only 40% of voters showing a great deal or fair amount of confidence — down from 53% in June of 2019.

Even before the latest ethics questions surrounding Justice Thomas, the poll found that 64% of voters, when informed of reports about Thomas’s behavior up to mid-July, think Thomas should resign, and 72% support Congress investigating Thomas’s ethical violations.

“When is enough enough? Voters are clearly fed up with the reckless and selfish behavior of Justice Thomas. We are even more fed up with his colleagues’ tolerance of his misconduct. It is time to hold the justices accountable and impose robust ethics reforms to prevent this behavior moving forward,” said Alliance for Justice Action Campaign President Rakim H.D. Brooks. “The American people are giving us a clear mandate: Court ethics reform now. They deserve a Court that they can trust to uphold the rights of all people, but they clearly see one that instead favors the wealthy and powerful. If lawmakers are not prepared to take action now, the voters will surely elect new leaders who will. Democracy cannot survive where one of its branches is critically impaired.”

“The Supreme Court is mired in an ethical crisis, and these findings show that Americans expect Congress to step up and hold the Court accountable. The steep decline in public confidence in the Court––the result of recent corruption scandals and years of attacks on our fundamental rights––emphasizes the urgent need for action,” said Brett Edkins, Managing Director of Policy and Political Affairs at Stand Up America. “The American people are demanding a Supreme Court that upholds the highest ethical standards. Congress must heed their call and restore trust in our nation’s top court.”

“The corruption scandals plaguing the court reaffirm Americans’ concerns about the scales of justice being tilted. They know that justice is not truly blind, but instead, it’s a commodity that is simply bought and paid for by billionaires and shadowy dark money groups,” said End Citizens United Chief Program Officer Jody Murphy. “These results should serve as a wake-up call for Congress. The American people want more transparency from the Supreme Court and they want accountability when the justices run afoul of the law. Anything short of this will empower and embolden the corrupt justices.”

More than ever, concerns surrounding the Court, from its extreme rulings to extraordinary ethics violations, will likely drive progressive turnout in the 2024 election. When asked how important the Court will be when they vote, 56% of Democrats said it would be very important compared to 42% of Republicans.

Click here to read the full polling memo.

New Ad Calls On Justice Clarence Thomas To Resign For Accepting Billionaire’s Gifts

AFJ/AFJAC Launch Massive #ThomasResign Ad Campaign

CONTACT
Zack Ford, Press Secretary
(202) 464-7370 / zack.ford@afjac.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today Alliance for Justice and Alliance for Justice Action Campaign launched their largest-ever joint digital media ad buy to bring attention to the urgent need for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign because he broke the law and abused his power. 

The $400,000 campaign consists of video ads and banners that will appear online in major national outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Politico, Fox, and The Hill.

Alliance for Justice and Alliance for Justice Action Campaign President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement:  

“Justice Thomas must resign. This is not a call we make lightly. But the rule of law is more sacred and precious than any justice, political party, or partisan agenda. The moment Justice Thomas accepted undisclosed luxury paid vacations, unfair real estate deals, and free tuition for his relative from a billionaire with interests before the Court, he called into question his life’s work and the integrity of our high court. The Chief Justice is fond of saying that the justices are mere umpires, calling balls and strikes. Well now we know that at least one umpire has been taking kickbacks. No one should turn a blind eye to that level of corruption, particularly those sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. 

“Our democracy is at a tipping point. Faith in all of our institutions is collapsing rapidly because Americans reasonably believe that the system is bought and paid for. Justice Thomas’s conduct plainly accelerates that erosion. So, as we await more potentially life-changing decisions from this Court over the next month, we have no other choice than to make sure our voices are heard. If we are ever to regain trust in our highest court, we must enforce basic ethical norms.” 

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Voters Must Respond to Republicans’ Plans for Our Courts | Opinion

AFJ Action Calls For Court Expansion and Filibuster Abolition In Wake of Abortion Decision Leak

CONTACT
Zack Ford, Press Secretary
(202) 464-7370 / zack.ford@afjac.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. May 3, 2022 – Last night, Politico published a draft opinion showing that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is planning to formally overturn people’s constitutional right to an abortion as established Roe v. Wade and affirmed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The draft decision opens the door for the Supreme Court to overturn other important decisions such as Griswold v. Connecticut, which established a constitutional right to access to birth control, Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the constitutional right to marriage equality, and Lawrence v. Texas, which established the constitutional right to consensual same-sex relationships.   

The decision is not final, and Roe remains the law of the land, but the time to act is now. Lawmakers must be prepared to take extraordinary steps to correct for this lawless and increasingly partisan Supreme Court to protect people’s constitutional right to abortion, marriage equality, access to birth control, and interracial marriage. 

Alliance for Justice Action Campaign President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement: 

“This draft decision is the product of Republicans’ decades-long campaign to stack the Court with hyper-partisan extremists. The Republican senators who helped seat the Court’s extremists must be held accountable and not allowed to return to office.  

“Alliance for Justice Action Campaign is redoubling its efforts to educate the public on the disastrous decision, and to hold Republican officials accountable for their ongoing attacks on reproductive freedom. This year’s election could not be more pivotal. If the current Democratic majority in Congress is unable to accomplish these goals, that majority must not only be preserved, but expanded. Fighting to preserve access to abortion and the other rights clearly under threat is essential.  

“The words ‘Expand the Court’ and ‘Abolish the Filibuster’ must be on the lips of every politician who purports to support access to abortion.  Dismantling the anti-democratic Jim Crow filibuster is the only path forward to protecting our rights. Access to abortion, a fundamental aspect of reproductive health care, now depends on passing the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and ensuring the Court’s conservative majority cannot simply overturn it in a future decision.  

“It is also more important than ever that voters pay attention to their state court races. Until abortion access can be restored at the federal level, state supreme courts will have the final say on abortion restrictions across the country. In many states, the judges and justices on these courts are elected, and voters have a unique opportunity to weigh in directly in a way that is not available at the federal level. 

“We can prevail, but we must act now. We know where this Supreme Court wants to take our nation and we can’t afford to fail.” 

Republicans’ Vote Against Ketanji Brown Jackson Could Come Back to Bite Them

AFJ Action Calls For Accountability After Ginni Thomas Revelations

CONTACT
Zack Ford, Press Secretary
(202) 464-7370 / zack.ford@afjac.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 29, 2022 – In recent weeks, incredible revelations have come to light regarding the political activity of Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Evidence shows that Ginni Thomas was intimately involved in President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including direct coordination with senior administration staff inside the Trump White House. Ginni Thomas also admitted that she attended the January 6 rally where the insurrection began. In at least some of her communications with President Trump’s then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Ginni Thomas appears to have referenced discussing her activities directly with Justice Thomas.

Justice Clarence Thomas has repeatedly refused to recuse himself from ongoing litigation resulting from the January 6th insurrection, and he was the only Supreme Court justice to vote against the Court’s January ruling that President Trump must turn over important White House records related to the insurrection. It is now clear that at least some of these records directly implicate his wife in potentially criminal activities. As such, Alliance for Justice Action Fund calls for the following:

  • Congress must immediately pass legislation establishing an enforceable ethical code of conduct for the U.S. Supreme Court that is equal to or more stringent than the judicial code of ethics for lower court judges.
  • Justice Thomas must recuse himself from all cases involving the January 6th insurrection.
  • Congress must launch a separate investigation into Ginni Thomas’s involvement in President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including whether or not Justice Thomas had any involvement in these activities.

Alliance for Justice Action Campaign President Rakim H.D. Brooks issued the following statement: 

“The revelations surrounding Ginni Thomas are profoundly disturbing. They should alarm anyone who cares about the sanctity and security of our democracy as well as the Supreme Court’s legitimacy within our system of government.

“Ginni Thomas’s efforts to keep Trump in office were extreme, possibly unlawful, and they call into question whether Justice Thomas, who has sworn to protect our Constitution, may have been indirectly involved in efforts to undermine and overturn fair and free elections. Justice Thomas must recuse himself from any cases even tangentially related to January 6. There is now sufficient publicly available information that would call his impartiality into question.

“AFJ Action renews its call for Congress to pass a law implementing a code of ethics for the justices to follow, just as lower court judges are bound to such a code. Supreme Court justices are not above the law, nor should they be shielded from public accountability for potentially unlawful or corrupt activities. As it stands, however, Supreme Court justices are only accountable to themselves. There must be a check on these obvious and alarming conflicts of interest for our democracy to persevere. Trust in the Supreme Court is already at an all-time low.”

###

AFJAC Commits to Six-Figure Advocacy Campaigns, Voter Education and Mobilization Efforts in Response to SCOTUS Overruling Roe v. Wade

CONTACT
Zack Ford, Press Secretary
(202) 464-7370 / zack.ford@afjac.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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.”

Lawyers Unite For Day Of Action To #BlockBarrett

CONTACT
Zack Ford, Press Secretary
(202) 464-7370 / zack.ford@afjac.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 23, 2020 – Today, Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, Lawyers for Good Government, and Equal Justice Society will join thousands of lawyers across the country to demand that senators oppose the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Following up on the letter of opposition that over 7,000 lawyers have now signed, today’s day of action will include a massive Senate call-in campaign and significant rallying on social media.

The message will be clear: Barrett was nominated to threaten the nation’s health care, reproductive freedom, civil rights, and democracy itself if she helps Donald Trump steal the election.

“Our nation’s top legal minds recognize clearly the damage Amy Coney Barrett will do,” said Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice Action Campaign. “It’s unprecedented for lawyers to unite against a Supreme Court nominee on this scale. Our opposition sends a resounding signal that Barrett will only compound the damage Trump’s judges have inflicted on our justice system.

“Lawyers are speaking out together in this historic moment because the fundamental rights of hundreds of millions of Americans are at stake. Confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett will cause significant and irreparable harm to both the rule of law and our democracy,” said Lawyers for Good Government’s president Traci Feit Love.

“The nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is the realization of a 50-year-old vision of the conservative movement to pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues. Judge Barrett ruled that calling a Black man the n-word did not create a hostile working environment. She has done nothing to learn about our country’s 400 years of violent racism. Her confirmation is a real and present danger to civil rights. I was born in Texas when Plessy v. Ferguson was the law and I became a civil rights lawyer because the federal judiciary protected and advanced the rights of Black people. Judge Barrett’s confirmation will mark a pause in that forward progress,” said Eva Paterson, President, Equal Justice Society

Coalition of Organizations Delivers 3 Million+ Signatures Calling on Senators to Delay SCOTUS Vote

CONTACT
Zack Ford, Press Secretary
(202) 464-7370 / zack.ford@afjac.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Daily Kos, MoveOn, The Leadership Conference, and the #OurCourt Coalition Lead Push to Pause Confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Daily Kos, MoveOn, The Leadership Conference, and the #OurCourt coalition delivered over 3.2 million petition signatures to the offices of Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Joni Ernst, Mitch McConnell, Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, Thom Tillis, Richard Burr, Martha McSally, Cory Gardner, and Susan Collins, calling on them to postpone the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court until after the winner of November’s presidential election takes office.

“Republicans know they’re facing losing the presidency and their majority in the U.S. Senate on Nov. 3, which is why they are desperately rushing Barrett’s confirmation vote in a last-gasp effort to pack the Supreme Court. While they’re busy engaging in this frantic act of political theater, millions are struggling with hunger and evictions as the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage Americans lives,” said Carolyn Fiddler, Daily Kos communications director. “Millions of Americans have spoken: It’s time for Republican senators to prioritize what matters most to American families instead of pressing forward with this blatant attempt to usurp the legitimacy of the highest court in the land.”

“Leader McConnell failed to provide meaningful relief during the pandemic and to respond to the calls for racial justice,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Senate Republicans are stopping at nothing to push through their misplaced priorities and rush this sham confirmation process, even ignoring the more than 42 million people who have already voted. Trump has threatened that his third justice will jeopardize health care access and so many of our fundamental civil and human rights. Barrett’s record demonstrates that she was chosen because she will work for powerful interests, not for equal justice for all. Her hearing did nothing to alleviate our grave concerns and we demand that the Senate listen to the petition signatories and voters and reject this nomination.”

“The rushed and blatantly partisan nomination process of Amy Coney Barett, has been a complete sham and an insult to the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” said Brianna Twofoot, National Organizing Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Coney Barett’s record makes clear that if appointed to the Supreme Court, she would be a direct threat to our reproductive rights and our health care, The Senate must not vote on the nomination of Amy Coney Barett until after Inauguration Day.”

“President Trump has repeatedly told us he expects Amy Coney Barrett will overturn health care protections and abortion rights and hand him a contested election, and we shouldn’t expect anything less. Barrett’s record and evasiveness confirm this,” said Nan Aron, President, Alliance for Justice Action Campaign. “The people of this country see this Republican power grab for exactly what it is. We will all hold these senators accountable for doing more to enshrine dangerous ultraconservative policies in the law than to protect Americans from a national pandemic, an economic crisis, and a legacy of racial inequality.”

“Journalists keep asking Democrats about court-packing. By blocking Obama’s nominee in 2016, when there was ample time for advice and consent, while rushing this nomination through the Senate without sufficient time, McConnell and the GOP are the court-packers,” said Jeff Cohen, cofounder of RootsAction.org.

“Another stolen Supreme Court seat threatens a devastating setback to our progress tackling climate change and the other great challenges of our time – progress that simply cannot wait. But Food & Water Action, along with the millions of people who have demanded a stop to this confirmation, will work to ensure this illegitimate power grab won’t go unanswered,” said Tarah Heinzen, Legal Director at Food & Water Action.

“The majority of Americans want to keep our health care coverage and don’t want another Supreme Court confirmation before the election, but nearly all Republican senators are refusing to listen. Instead they’re ramming this nomination through, regardless of how many people are hurt, because they want a partisan 6-3 court to defend their ultraconservative political agenda,” said Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way. “The voters see exactly what’s going on here and they don’t like it. Republicans would be smart to pay attention to the millions of people who oppose this nomination process. Those voters, along with those who signed the petition being delivered today, will also be voting in less than two weeks.”

“Senators need to use every tool at their disposal to stop this illegitimate confirmation process until a new president takes office. Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell want to pack the court with right-wing extremists who will undermine voting rights this fall and hobble the next president from addressing the critical needs facing this country. It’s time for Senators from both parties to put a stop to this nomination before it proceeds any further,” said Robert Cruickshank, Campaign Director of Demand Progress.

The signatures were collected by a broad coalition, including the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, California Clean Money Action Fund, California National Organization for Women, Center for Reproductive Rights, Color of Change, Common Cause, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Everytown for Gun Safety, Faith in Public Life Action, Family Equality, Food & Water Action, The Juggernaut Project, MoveOn, NARAL, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Women’s Law Center, Other98, People For the American Way, PPFA, Population Connection Action Fund, Power to Decide, Progress America, Rep. Raul Grijalva, RootsAction.org, Sierra Club, and the Women’s March.

Daily Kos is the nation’s largest online progressive media and activism hub and leads the way in supporting Democrats across the country, raising over $7.4 million for candidates and campaigns in small, grassroots donations in the 2020 cycle.

Alliance for Justice Action Campaign Launches 5-Figure Ad Buy Opposing Barrett Nomination

CONTACT
Zack Ford, Press Secretary
(202) 464-7370 / zack.ford@afjac.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 15, 2020 – Alliance for Justice Action Campaign announced a five-figure ad buy for a new spot opposing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. The ad will run across Facebook and target viewers in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, and North Carolina through the Senate’s confirmation vote.

The ad highlights that President Trump nominated Barrett to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which would take health care away from millions. She is also on record opposing reproductive rights, civil rights, and gun safety. She could even weigh in on the election itself, meaning she poses a threat to protections Americans have long held dear and democracy itself.

Alliance for Justice Action Campaign President Nan Aron issued the following statement:

“The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett has been completely rushed, through and through. We know exactly why the president nominated her, and we know exactly why Senate Republicans are in a rush to confirm her.

They want a Justice who will side with the wealthy and powerful over everyday Americans.

They want a Justice who will favor big corporations and ultraconservative special interests.

And they want a Justice who will overturn the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade.

Millions of voters have already cast their ballots. We must not allow Trump and Senate Republicans to override their votes, steal the election, and dismantle our health care and our rights.”

The ad can be viewed here.

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