And other rights too. Of course, they might not do them, but that is a matter of choice (SWIDT?). That Democrats choose to not suspend, limit, or overturn the Senate filibuster–and if the diminution of the Senate’s power isn’t a reason to do so*, I don’t know what is. On the legislative side, here are some of the things that can be done through legislation (boldface mine):
It is tempting, in the immediate wake of the court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, to say that there’s nothing to be done about the reactionary majority on the court. But that’s just not true. The Constitution provides a number of paths by which Congress can restrain and discipline a rogue court.
It can impeach and remove justices. It can increase or decrease the size of the court itself (at its inception, the Supreme Court had only six members). It can strip the court of its jurisdiction over certain issues or it can weaken its power of judicial review by requiring a supermajority of justices to sign off on any decision that overturns a law. Congress can also rebuke the court with legislation that simply cancels the decision in question.
Again, it might not happen because of co-president Manchin and Manic Pixie Dream Senator Sinema, but it is possible to do these things. On the executive branch side, President Biden could–though New Democrats gonna New Democrat, so he probably won’t–do the following, as multiple commentators and Democratic officials have noted:
- Make abortions available on federal property leased to providers who pay for it out their own pockets and charity. (Senators Warren and Murray have proposed investigating this option).
- Make abortion medications available through the federal post and on federal land.
These are things that could be done today. Yes, Democrats need more Senate seats and need to hold the House. But that doesn’t absolve professional Democrats of inaction right now, or provide an excuse for why they appear to have been caught with their pants down around their ankles (again).
We need Democrats in positions of power, if nothing else to prevent them from being held by Republicans who are worse, but we also need better Democrats. It’s time for the current leadership to go.
*This week, the Supreme Court likely will dismantle the administrative state, nullifying decades of legislation. You didn’t really want to stop global warming, did you?