Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Schumer, Pelosi to strip SCOTUS of abortion jurisdiction

A group of House progressives led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to strip the Supreme Court of its abortion jurisdiction.

“We write to urge your support for restricting the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction in the areas of abortion, marriage equality, non-procreative intimacy, and contraception,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the congressional leaders.

“In doing so, we can ensure that, as Congress takes legislative action to codify each of these fundamental rights, a radical, restless, and newly constituted majority on the Court cannot further undermine the protections we would enact.”

The progressives pointed to Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, in which he suggested that that several other cases, which established the constitutional rights to contraception access, same sex marriage and states not being able to ban consensual gay sex, should be revisited.

“The House of Representatives already passed the Women’s Health Protection Act (“WHPA”) last fall to codify the constitutional right to abortion, and if this bill becomes law, we can expect that legal challenges will eventually come before the Supreme Court again. Once more, the constitutional right to abortion would be put at risk,” they said. “We are concerned by the Court’s dismantling of other statutes duly enacted by Congress, including the Voting Rights Act and the Clean Air Act.”

“As we Democrats plan for further legislative action to protect and enshrine abortion rights, as well as the three other fundamental rights called into question in Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs, we urge the exercise of Congress’ constitutional powers under Article III to include language that removes the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction over such legislation,” they added later. 

Other lawmakers who signed onto the letter include Democratic Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), Marie Newman (Ill.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Mark Takano (Calif.), Kaiali’i Kahele (Hawaii) and Cori Bush (Mo.).

Last month, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 landmark decision of Roe v. Wade, which determined the right to abortion was constitutional. At least nine states have now banned abortion, and other restrictions and bans in other states are expected.

Ocasio-Cortez said that the high court had “gone rogue,” adding that she believes that impeachment should be “on the table.” Multiple Democrats have also argued that some of the current Supreme Court justices were not forthcoming about their stances on Roe v. Wade during their Senate confirmation hearings.

“I believe impeachment should be on the table. I believe court expansion should be on the table. I believe that ethics rules should be on the table. I believe that recusal requirements should be on the table,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Tuesday

“I think all of it should be considered right now. And we shouldn’t be putting any tools out because of … the degree of which this court has gone rogue.”

The Hill has reached out to Schumer’s and Pelosi’s offices for comment. 

Tags abortion Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Chuck Schumer Chuck Schumer Clarence Thomas Cori Bush Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Ilhan Omar Jamaal Bowman Mark Takano Mondaire Jones Nancy Pelosi Nancy Pelosi Progressives Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Roe v. Wade

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