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Democrats are reiterating their calls to pack the Supreme Court, demanding action after the court declined to halt Texas’ controversial abortion law on Wednesday.
“Republicans promised to overturn Roe v Wade, and they have,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
“Democrats can either abolish the filibuster and expand the court, or do nothing as millions of peoples’ bodies, rights, and lives are sacrificed for far-right minority rule. This shouldn’t be a difficult decision.”
The Supreme Court did not actually overturn Roe v. Wade. By rejecting the procedural challenge to Texas’ law, it effectively allowed the state to at least temporarily bypass Roe’s limits on abortion bans. The law prevents abortions after a heartbeat can be detected – often considered to take place at five to six weeks of gestational age.
Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., Ocasio-Cortez’s “Squad”-mate, tweeted: “In the span of one week the Supreme Court forced 11 million households to face eviction and effectively overturned Roe v. Wade in the middle of the night. This is what far-right extremism looks like. We need to expand the court.”
She was referring to another decision blocking the Biden administration’s extension of a coronavirus-related eviction moratorium.
“There is no middle ground when it comes to fundamental rights and liberties,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y. “There is only one way to take seriously the threat of the Supreme Court majority and protect millions of Americans. We must #ExpandTheCourt.”
Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation has fueled Democratic fears that conservatives might succeed in gutting Roe after decades of precedent supporting abortion access. With a virtual tie in the Senate, Democrats would have to abolish the filibuster in order to bypass the 60-vote threshold for confirming new justices.
Jones also promoted the Judiciary Act, which would add four justices to the court.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., reiterated his call for legislation on Thursday.
“This Supreme Court abortion ruling cannot be the last word,” he tweeted. “Senate Democrats have the power to fix this problem right now by abolishing the filibuster and passing my legislation to expand the Supreme Court.”
For decades, the court has been composed of nine justices, but Democrats argue that should change after Barrett’s and Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmations, which they’ve suggested were illegitimate.
Despite their enthusiasm, congressional Democrats will likely encounter resistance from moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has expressed opposition to both court-packing and abolishing the filibuster.
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