Durbin: The Supreme Court's Conservative Majority Is Undermining The Rule Of Law

In a speech on the Senate floor, Durbin reflects on today’s Judiciary Committee hearing on a post-Roe America and calls out the Supreme Court’s judicial activism

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today reflected on one of the most consequential and disastrous Supreme Court terms in American history. Specifically, Durbin outlined how the Court’s radical majority—in furtherance of an ideological agenda—issued rulings in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that upended our constitutional landscape.

“In the scope of just a few weeks, the Supreme Court’s radical new supermajority trampled over decades of longstanding precedent—and usurped the power that has traditionally been left to Congress, state legislatures, and even individual Americans,” Durbin said. “In fact, for the first time in the history of the United States of America, the Supreme Court revoked a constitutional right: the right to reproductive health care. What we’ve seen from this Supreme Court is not guided by any coherent philosophy. It is judicial activism—plain and simple. The Court’s radical majority is cherry-picking its way across text and history to impose their own ideological agenda on the American people. And in doing so, the majority is not only damaging the Court’s institutional integrity—they are undermining the health and safety of the American people.”

Durbin first addressed West Virginia v. EPA, in which the Court’s conservative majority misconstrued a law passed by Congress to side with the fossil fuel industry instead of the American people.

Durbin continued, “The Supreme Court’s radical majority decided that their own ideological goals on the Court are more important than the expertise of the world’s top scientists. And with this ruling, the Court has made it clear they are coming after public agencies responsible for protecting our public health. They want to weaken the government’s ability to work on behalf of the American people.”

Durbin went on to outline another ideologically-driven ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, in which the Court struck down a New York gun safety law that had been on the books for more than a century and placed limits on who is allowed to carry concealed handguns in public.

“And as a result of that law being struck down, it is all but certain that we will see more guns on the streets of America—at a time when gun violence has become so bad that the leading cause of death for among children in America would be guns,’” Durbin said.  “The Bruen decision was not a triumph of originalism.  It was a classic example of runaway judicial activism in furtherance of a far-right ideological agenda—and we have to live in the America that it leaves.”

Lastly, Durbin discussed the impact of the Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which revoked the constitutional right to abortion from every American.

Durbin continued, “This decision is one of the most irresponsible rulings in American history. By overturning Roe v. Wade, the majority not only violated five decades of longstanding precedent, they created a health care crisis across the country… [Roe] put a profound and personal decision exactly where it should be: in the hands of the individual. Now, that right has been ripped from the American people and handed over to the government. Your constitutional freedoms now depend on what state you live in… [T]his Supreme Court has invited chaos.”

Durbin concluded, “This assault on our fundamental freedoms won’t end there. The Supreme Court has already signaled they’re just getting started... There’s a reason why a record number of Americans say they have lost faith in the Supreme Court. They saw what happened in this term that just concluded. And now, they’re living in fear that their most cherished rights—basic human rights in America—are on the conservative chopping block…

“This radical majority is not comprised of umpires calling balls and strikes. They are, in fact, judicial activists—unelected judges—who are actively undermining the rule of law.” 

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.