In a classic David vs Goliath matchup, fiery New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) is calling out Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito for suggesting the Supreme Court is the ultimate power broker in the land, standing above Congress and, in essence, the people. Not one to mince words, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t hesitate to take Alito to task, shining a light on a disconcerting pattern of behavior.
“Shocker: The guy tasked with enforcing checks and balances feels they shouldn’t apply to him,” Ocasio-Cortez shot back in a Friday tweet, responding to a seemingly self-congratulatory interview with Alito that hit the digital shelves earlier that day.
The fiery congresswoman argued that Alito’s claim is, in fact, the inverse of the truth, emphasizing that it is the Supreme Court, an institution that is neither elected nor term-limited, that should be subjected to the most scrutiny to prevent corruption and abuse of power.
Alito’s eyebrow-raising commentary, which suggests the Supreme Court is untouchable by Congress, has been the focus of criticism and rightly so. There have been troubling reports about Alito’s connections with right-wing lobbyists and his acceptance of opulent gifts from right-wing billionaires with stakes in Supreme Court decisions, which he conveniently neglected to disclose.
Challenging the spirit of democracy and arguably overstepping his bounds, Alito stated, “No provision in the Constitution gives [Congress] the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”
Legal experts, however, beg to differ, pointing out that the Constitution explicitly allows Congress to regulate the Supreme Court. Alito’s bold, false assertion left legal scholars scratching their heads.
Never one to back down, AOC went on to satirically predict Alito’s next Wall Street Journal op-ed: “‘I am a little king, actually. The Constitution doesn’t explicitly say I’m not,’ likely sponsored by some billionaire who secretly thinks voting rights should only belong to the landed gentry.”
Alito’s comments also drew the ire of other lawmakers. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) rebuked Alito’s claim as “stunningly wrong,” reminding us that Congress has previously established requirements for justices to disclose certain information.
Adding to the critique, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) flagged Alito’s comments as an escalation of the Supreme Court’s current extremist power grab. He described it as a clear signal to court watchers and skeptics of statutory reforms that it’s time for action.
Ocasio-Cortez herself has issued similar warnings. Earlier this month, she warned of the dangers of allowing Supreme Court justices to overreach their authority, risking an undemocratic and potentially authoritarian expansion of power in the Supreme Court.
In this tussle between a high-ranking judge and a young congresswoman, it’s clear who’s standing up for the people’s interests. As this judicial saga unfolds, remember the stakes: unchecked authority can undermine the very democracy we cherish. Now more than ever, we need leaders who aren’t afraid to say, “checks and balances apply to everyone.”