Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the Supreme Court was on a “dangerous slide” toward authoritarianism.
Speaking to CNN, the New York Democrat said the court is taking on the role of a legislature.
They’re “acting like they’re Congress,” the lawmaker said, calling it a “dangerous” trend.
The Supreme Court’s six conservative justices are on a chilling power trip, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Sunday, saying recent decisions on student loans and affirmative action show the right-wing majority is ignoring the will of the people. elected and “begins to assume the power of a legislature.”
Speaking on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’, Ocasio-Cortez said recent court rulings – overturning both race-based admissions to higher education and the plan to overturn President Joe Biden’s student loans – “signal a dangerous drift toward authoritarianism and the centralization of power in the court.”
“They’re expanding their role by acting like they’re Congress itself and that, I believe, is an expansion of power that we really need to focus on,” said Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York.
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that Congress had no intention of authorizing Biden’s debt relief plan under a 2003 measure known as the HEROES Act. But Ocasio-Cortez said authorization for the plan can be found in another law passed by Congress, the Higher Education Act. Following the court’s decision, the White House announced that it would draft a new rule, citing that law, for granting loan forgiveness.
With the pandemic-era pause on loan repayments set to expire later this year, however — and any new debt relief rule, by law, requiring a 12-month wait — Ocasio-Cortez said that the administration should at least “consider suspending interest payments”. “
She also urged fellow members of Congress to step up their oversight of the nation’s highest court, citing the revelation that members such as Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito failed to report large donations from influential right-wing donors.
Oversight should include subpoenas, she said, to force people like Chief Justice John Roberts to deal with the court’s apparent conflicts of interest. The possibility of impeachment of judges found to be corrupt cannot be ruled out, she said, saying there “must be impeachment on the table”.
“The Supreme Court has not been given the adequate scrutiny necessary to preserve its own legitimacy,” she said. “And in the process, they themselves destroyed the legitimacy of the Court, which is deeply dangerous for our entire democracy.”
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