Even before the start of the Supreme Court’s first full term under the Biden administration this week, Tory justices appeared on the defensive. In separate speeches from September, Justice Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettThe Hill’s 12:30 p.m. report: Schumer shortens debt ceiling deadline Judge Alito’s heresy Supreme Court partisanship becomes harder to deny MORE declared that the court was not “a group of partisan hacks”, while the justice Clarence thomasClarence ThomasESPN Removes Sage Steele From Lineup After Controversial Remarks. The group is asking the California bar to investigate the role of Trump’s adviser on Jan.6. said the media give the impression that judges decide based on “personal preferences.” Justice Samuel alitoSamuel Alito’s heresyJustice Alito Supreme Court partisanship becomes harder and harder to deny Hill’s morning report – Brought to you by Alibaba – Democrats still at odds on Biden agenda MORE Rejected against criticism from the tribunal, critics, he said, wrongly portrayed it as “a dangerous cabal that uses underhanded and inappropriate methods to achieve its ends.”
Despite such statements, actions speak louder than words. Recent decisions by the court’s conservative majority have demonstrated a bias towards partisanship that does not serve Latinos. If there is to be real justice for Latinos, the country’s largest minority group since 2003, the court must be reformed. The current conservative majority cannot be trusted to protect the civil and constitutional rights of Latinos.
One problem with the court is that it does not reflect the public. Although Democratic candidates have won the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections, Republicans have appointed six judges for life. It is questionable whether this group is equipped to make decisions that impact the lives of the 62 million Latinos in the county. With the exception of Justice Sonia sotomayorSonia Sotomayor NBC Justice Correspondent: SCOTUS Seems To ‘Make A Big Hole’ In Abortion Rights Supreme Court Refuses To Hear ‘Qualified Immunity’ Lawsuit For Police Shooting the Supreme Court is getting harder and harder to deny MORE, who is of Puerto Rican descent, none of the judges have significant life experience with the issues Latinos face. Three of the judges were appointed by the most anti-Latino and anti-immigrant president in modern history.
The political tendencies of the Court’s conservatives are clearly present in their decisions. During the last administration, the Conservative majority has often shown deference to the actions of Trump’s executive. In February 2020, for example, the majority authorized a rule limiting the ability of low-income immigrants to enter the United States, a move that prompted Sotomayor to warn that the court was doing special favors for the Trump administration. Yet now that Biden is president, court conservatives are lining up against the executive branch. In August, they kept Mexico until their requests could be processed.
In July, the court left Arizona’s voting restrictions in place, potentially depriving many Latinos and encouraging other states to adopt similar measures.
The new term is more dangerous for Latinos. Consider that the court will hear cases on abortion and Second Amendment rights – and that the majority of Latinos support the right to legal abortion as well as stricter gun laws. The court will also decide whether Puerto Ricans are eligible for certain government benefits. Given that Harvard law professor Michael Klarman calls this tribunal “the most conservative tribunal in almost 100 years,” there is no doubt that the Conservatives will rule. The question is whether Americans will continue to accept the legitimacy of this unelected island group widely seen as partisan. Not surprising that President BidenJoe Biden Biden Announces Arts and Humanities Endowment Appointments Biden and Xi Agree to Honor Taiwan On The Money Agreement – Presented by NRHC – Democrats Break Rubicon Debt Ceiling PLUS formed a commission to study possible judicial reforms.
Polls suggest Latinos would be open to High Court reform. A May 2019 poll by Quinnipiac University found that 63% of Latinos said the court was primarily motivated by politics, and 61% were in favor of its restructuring. And this poll was carried out before the controversial appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, whose confirmation has been contested by major Latino lobby groups. More recently, in September, a Quinnipiac poll found that only 38% of Latinos approved of Supreme Court job performance, as overall approval of court work had fallen to an all-time high.
Of course, the Conservatives will view any attempt at court reform as “court clutter”. But this process has already been initiated by Sen. Mitch mcconnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell On The Money – Presented By NRHC – Democrats Break Rubicon Debt Ceiling Democrats Insist They Won’t Back Down on Debt Ceiling Schumer Warns October Vacation in danger for the fight against the debt ceiling PLUS (R-Ky.) When he blocked president obamaBarack Hussein Obama Biden Announces Arts and Humanities Endowment Nominations Appeals Court Rules Against Blue States in SALT Cap Lawsuit Gail Huff Brown, Wife of Scott Brown, Joins Race in Congress in New Hampshire MOREthe appointment of Merrick garlandMerrick GarlandDOJ to investigate threats against teachers, nationwide school board members Hillary Clinton backs end of filibuster, says GOP “does not respect rule of law” Appeals court grapples with constitutional protections for detainees at Guantanamo PLUS at the high court in 2016. It continued with the hasty confirmations of Brett KavanaughBrett Michael Kavanaugh Feehery: Republican Congress needed to fight left’s slide into autocracy and Amy Coney Barrett. On the other hand, reforming the courts is not synonymous with adding judges; this could involve time or age limits.
The Supreme Court must be reformed because all Americans deserve a tribunal that is impartial and consistent in its interpretation of the law. The rights of Latinos are at stake, as is the integrity of the High Court.
Raul A. Reyes is an immigration attorney and a member of the USA Today Contributors Council. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, he also contributes to NBCNews.com and CNN Opinion. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaulAReyes, Instagram: raulareyes1.