Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Supreme Court Poised To Roll Back Decades of Progress, Undermine Democracy
Press Release

RELEASE: Supreme Court Poised To Roll Back Decades of Progress, Undermine Democracy

Washington, D.C. — The Supreme Court’s extreme right-wing majority is poised to hand down a string of decisions that would dramatically roll back longstanding rights and laws in a way unseen in modern times, according to a new analysis from the Center for American Progress.

A leaked opinion earlier this year suggests the court is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade and nearly a half-century of precedent on abortion rights. But a handful of other rulings could result in a major regression of other long-held protections, including religious freedom, effective governance, clean air, and the right to live safe from the scourge of gun violence.

The column reviews five cases in which the court seeks to reopen and undermine precedents, compromises, or laws that have long been settled to safeguard the rights of everyday people. These rulings will further politicize the court, eroding decades of trust and undermining its reputation as a neutral arbiter in resolving constitutional disputes.

“This activist court dominated an extreme right-wing majority is poised to turn back the clock on our nation’s hard-fought progress,” said Ben Olinsky, senior vice president of Structural Reform and Governance at CAP and co-author of the column. “Instead of respecting court precedents, they are advancing their own extreme ideological vision that is out of step with most Americans.”

The column makes three recommendations:

  • The justices must recognize that their continued radical activism has the potential to destabilize the institution of the Supreme Court and the broad respect that Americans give to its decisions. They must show judicial restraint going forward.
  • Congress must consider significant reforms to the court, including term limits, new binding ethical restrictions, increased transparency, and fast-track procedures to ensure open seats do not go unfilled for political or ideological reasons.
  • Congress and executive branch agencies must write laws and regulations in a way that accounts for the court’s activism to avoid improper intrusion by the court in these laws’ appropriate implementation.

Read the column: “The Supreme Court’s Extreme Majority Risks Turning Back the Clock on Decades of Progress and Undermining Our Democracy” by Ben Olinsky and Grace Oyenubi

For more information, or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 240-899-9436.