Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) appeared to misunderstand the basic circumstances in which conservative Supreme Court justices were appointed to the bench while suggesting ways to combat unfavorable rulings.
The 32-year-old progressive lawmaker made the error at the beginning of a series of tweets as she laid out a set of policy prescriptions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion case. Ocasio-Cortez, who titled the thread, “Here’s how Dems can + must do more than wait for an election,” began by explaining why she thought the nation’s highest bench required immediate reform.
The firebrand congresswoman then said that “7 of the 9 justices were appointed by a party that hasn’t won a popular vote more than once in 30 years.” The problem with this assertion, however, is that it is inaccurate.
The Supreme Court is currently made up of six conservatives (Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett) and three liberals (Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor).
Only three of those justices fit her popular vote claim: Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett, all of whom were nominated by former President Donald Trump. Trump lost the popular vote in 2016, but he beat Hillary Clinton with 304 Electoral College votes to her 227.
As for the other conservative justices, Alito and Roberts were both appointed in 2005 by former President George W. Bush. While Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 to Al Gore, he did not nominate anyone to the top court in his first term. He won the popular vote in his 2004 reelection campaign against John Kerry and made his only two successful nominations to the bench the next year, when the Senate confirmed both Roberts and Alito on a bipartisan basis.
Here’s how Dems can + must do more than wait for an election.
Let’s start w/ why:
– 7 of the 9 justices were appointed by a party that hasn’t won a popular vote more than once in 30 years
– 1 of those seats was stolen
– Several lied to Congress to secure their appointment…
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 25, 2022
Thomas, meanwhile, was appointed in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, who won the popular vote in 1988. Like Alito and Roberts, Thomas was also approved with the support of some Democrats, albeit by a much smaller margin.
Representatives for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment on her popular vote assertion.
After misstating her first statistic on the makeup of the court, the New York congresswoman went on to suggest how President Joe Biden and elected Democrats should respond to the high court’s substantial conservative majority.
“The President & Dem leaders can no longer get away with familiar tactics of ‘committees’ and ‘studies’ to avoid tackling our crises head-on anymore,” she said before listing four ideas to fight back. She wrote that the Left should “restrain judicial review,” “open clinics on federal lands,” “expand Fed access/awareness of pill abortions,” and commit to “court expansion.”
She also noted that Democrats must “be PRECISE with what we need and we will do with that power” when asking for people’s votes, arguing that her party must make it clear what the president and Congress are actually able to do with smaller versus larger majorities.
“Be honest. Details motivate,” she wrote.