According to a new poll, Black voters are more open to expanding the Supreme Court. Overall, 64 percent of Black voters surveyed at least somewhat supported the idea of adding more justices to the Supreme Court.
The poll conducted by Navigator found that support for expanding the Court grew 19 points among Black voters. According to the findings, support for Court expansion increased after the leak of the draft SCOTUS decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Organizations like Demand Justice see the new poll as welcome news. In an interview with NewsOne Demand Justice’s Senior Advisor for Engagement and Outreach, Tamara Brummer called the Court’s conservative supermajority an “existential threat” to Black people.
“People often pay more attention to the president and the Congress, but many of the most important decisions about how our lives look end up being made by the Supreme Court,” Brummer explained. “Republicans worked for decades to install far-right justices who would roll back voting and civil rights protections. Unless we make a change, people like Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett will be making many of the most important policy decisions about how we all get to live our lives for decades to come.”
According to Brummer, many issues impacting people’s daily lives were at risk, including reproductive freedom, voting rights, civil rights, environment, health and safety. She said expanding the Court was needed to break the “chokehold” the ultra-conservative supermajority has over the future.
“Right now, Republicans control 6 of the nine seats on the Supreme Court,” Brummer said. “Time and time again, this super conservative majority rules in favor of Republicans instead of the people or even the Constitution. Justice Jackson’s confirmation was historical, but as the leaked draft overturning Roe v. Wade reminds us, unless we change the math at the Supreme Court, we haven’t changed the fundamental dynamics.”
As previously reported, adding more justices to the Supreme Court is within the purview of Congress. The current nine-justice formation was reached in 1869 when there were only nine judicial circuits. The proposed Judiciary Act of 2021 would expand the Court to 13 justices. The legislation is supported by a mix of legislators in the Senate and House.
“The Constitution actually doesn’t say how many people sit on the Supreme Court; that’s a decision for Congress to make,” Brummer said. “Congress can decide to add justices to the Supreme Court and let the president add new justices who will help restore balance. That’s why we’re supporting the Judiciary Act, a bill in Congress with more than 50 supporters in the House.”
In light of the current Court’s handling of voting rights, and the anticipated decision in Dobbs, Brummer said that expanding the Supreme Court is the only way to stop the assault on people’s fundamental rights.
“Recent news about Republican justices voting to overturn abortion rights has rightly brought a lot of attention to the need to restore balance to the Court, but if you look at voting rights, you can see that the radical, anti-rights approach is nothing new,” she said. “The lesson from how the Court has treated the voting and civil rights of Black Americans is that they’re not going for half-measures, they’re coming for everything — unless we stop them by expanding the Court.”