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Progressive Groups Advocate Overhaul At The Supreme Court

In the aftermath of ethics questions emerging around Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and a series of politically charged rulings, a coalition of more than 30 progressive groups plans to initiate a nationwide campaign calling for structural changes to the court. The effort will include progressive leaders and organizations not previously engaged in the push to overhaul the court, including by imposing term limits on justices or increasing their numbers. Leaders of the organizations say they now see the need to promote a larger public discussion about the role of the court in American life, reports the New York Times. “This is new to us,” said Mini Timmaraju, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. She said her organization’s decision to join the campaign was driven in part by court decisions on abortion rights, gun control, and other issues that run counter to well-documented public opinion.“We feel a special obligation to jump in now,” she said. “It feels the time is right to start having this conversation about expansion. Everything has to be on the table.”

Those taking part in the “Just Majority” drive, with the theme “democracy demands a fair and ethical court,” said one goal is to motivate voters to make the direction of the court part of their calculation in next year’s elections. The organizations participating are active on abortion rights, gun control, voting laws, civil rights, racial justice, and the environment, along with more traditional judicial advocacy groups. The campaign kicks off on Monday in Boston, the first city in a 20-stop nationwide bus tour that will include appearances from Democratic lawmakers. It is scheduled to end in late June in Washington, D.C. The effort follows new disclosures about Justice Thomas’s unreported financial ties to a billionaire Republican donor as well as evidence of the court’s declining credibility with the public after overturning Roe v. Wade and other decisions. Thomas has said he intends to revise his financial disclosures to reflect his relationship with the donor, Harlan Crow, who has provided extensive travel for the justice and purchased property in Georgia that Thomas owned and where his mother lives. “The revelations about Clarence Thomas are extremely upsetting,” said Cecile Richards, former head of Planned Parenthood, who will take part in the campaign. “For years, Republicans have made the court an issue. I think it is time that Democrats actually talk to voters about what is going on.”

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