FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Today, eight progressive organizations joined together to announce the formation of the Unrig the Courts coalition, which will work to advance four specific court reforms while President Biden and Congressional Democrats have the power to act.
The founding coalition members are: 51 for 51, Demand Justice, Demos Action, Indivisible, Just Democracy Coalition, People’s Parity Project, Stand Up America, and Take Back the Court. From organizing prowess to media and research, each group will bring its individual strengths and capacity to the coalition.
Unrig the Courts was founded to address the urgent need for court reform, and will focus on advancing four key reforms:
- Expand the Supreme Court
- Expand the lower federal courts
- Enact term limits for Supreme Court justices
- Improve ethics and transparency requirements for Supreme Court justices
Unrig the Courts exists to advocate for the structural changes needed to make our courts more accountable to the people and to protect progress on the most pressing issues of our time.
“The majority Black and Brown residents of D.C. were left without a vote when conservatives raced to pack the courts with judges who threaten our rights and make undemocratic decisions that radically affect all Americans,” said Stasha Rhodes, Campaign Director of 51 for 51. “Court reform—like D.C. statehood—is one of the most urgent fights to bolster a fair and representative democracy. We are proud to join this coalition to demonstrate the intersectionality of these crucial issues and involve the 700,000+ D.C. residents in the mission for a balanced judiciary.”
“The Supreme Court has become too partisan and too political, and with a united Democratic government the time to act is now,” said Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon. “The 6-3 Republican-appointed majority consistently sides with Repubilcan politicians and corporate interests over the American people, and we must act before they rig the rules of our democracy even further.”
“Our courts should be a bulwark for democracy, but that promise is under attack,” said Brenda Wright, Demos Interim Director of Legal Strategies. “Conservative ideologues have packed our courts with radical judges and justices who are hostile to voting rights, economic justice, affirmative action, reproductive rights, and so many other issues our communities care about. Overwhelmingly white and male, the federal judiciary does not reflect the rich diversity of our nation, and too often it fails to protect the rights and wellbeing of Black and Brown Americans. We need comprehensive court reform to bring our federal courts and our democracy into balance.”
“Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell were terrifyingly successful in transforming the judiciary into an arm of the Republican party, but it didn’t start with them,” said Meagan Hatcher-Mays, director of democracy policy at Indivisible. “For years, conservatives have been rigging our courts with ideologues hellbent on rolling back civil and constitutional rights for marginalized people. We finally have a chance to do something about this urgent threat, and there is too much at stake to sit back and hope for the best. We need to fix our courts, starting by adding seats to the Supreme Court, so that we can finally begin to fix our democracy.”
“For decades, conservatives have jammed through unqualified, radical judges to the detriment of Black and Brown people in this country,” said Dr. Magdala Chery, Founder of #NotJustABlackBody and member of the Just Democracy coalition. “Holding the judicial branch of our government accountable to protecting people of color on every issue from health care to gun violence prevention means making the courts better reflect the values of all Americans, not allowing them to be used as a firewall for progress. Just Democracy is incredibly proud to join this coalition and fight for a more just, fair court system and democracy.”
“When ordinary people no longer stand a chance of prevailing in our legal system, that system isn’t working,” said Molly Coleman, Executive Director of the People’s Parity Project. “Powerful interests have conspired to create legal tools and doctrines that impede access to justice, and ultimately built a judiciary in which legal outcomes depend almost entirely on the resources at one’s disposal. We need structural court reform so that those most in need of justice in this country once again have a shot at finding that in a courtroom.”
“When Republicans dishonored Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish and broke every precedent by pushing a right-wing nominee onto the Court days before the 2020 election, they left progressives with no choice but to reform the institution that they have rigged, packed, and politicized,” said Stand Up America Political Director Brett Edkins. “Our democracy and our fundamental rights are at stake unless we take swift action to undo the damage conservatives have done to the judiciary. That’s why we are proud to join this coalition to ensure that—under a Biden-Harris administration and with Democrats in control of Congress—unrigging our courts is a top priority.”
“We are in a crisis,” said Aaron Belkin, Director of Take Back the Court. “Unrigging the courts is the first necessary step toward fixing our broken democracy. Without fixing the courts, any progress we make, on any issue, from climate change to gun violence to free and fair elections, can be easily reversed. We don’t live in a democracy when a partisan, ideological judiciary can keep our elected officials in handcuffs.”
Learn more at unrigthecourts.org.
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