AFT Resolution

AFT CONDEMNS RECENT SUPREME COURT DECISIONS ATTACKING OUR FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS

WHEREAS, in the design of our nation’s Founders, the Supreme Court was established as one of three co-equal branches of our national government, with the power to strike down as unconstitutional laws and acts of governments. The Founders gave the Court this power for the express purpose of safeguarding the rights and freedom of the American people and protecting against abuses of government power; and

WHEREAS, in its most recent set of decisions in 2022, the extremist majority of the Supreme Court has struck down long-standing precedents and long-enduring laws, with the elimination of guarantees for many of our rights and freedoms:

  • It has eliminated the right to choose when and if to bear children and restricted reproductive freedom;[1]
  • It has undercut public safety, striking down a century-old law regulating the carrying of firearms in public venues at a time when Americans going about their daily lives—in schools, in places of worship, and in stores and shopping centers—are dying in a national scourge of gun violence;[2]
  • It has dismantled what Thomas Jefferson called the wall of separation between church and state, allowing for the use of government to promote religious beliefs and rituals in education;[3]
  • It has damaged the federal government’s capacity to address climate change and abate environmental pollution, and the government’s capacity to regulate business more generally, by appointing itself the judge of the appropriateness of policy in a power grab that violates the constitutional separation of powers;[4]

WHEREAS, even before these recent rulings, extremists on the nation’s high court have been undermining some of our basic freedoms:

  • They have allowed unlimited “dark money” spending by corporations and the wealthy in our elections;[5]
  • They have eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, eroding voting rights, permitting voter suppression tactics, and turning a blind eye to extreme racial and partisan gerrymandering;[6]
  • They have undermined the right of public sector workers to organize in unions and bargain collectively;[7]
  • They have sanctioned discrimination against minority religions and LGBTQIA+ individuals:[8]

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers affirms our deep conviction that the essential purpose of the Supreme Court in our system of constitutional government is to guarantee the rights and freedoms of the American people and to check abuses of government power; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT strongly condemns the decisions of the current extremist majority of the Supreme Court that depart from its constitutional role as the guardian of rights by undermining and eliminating guarantees of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the American people. In particular, the AFT condemns the court’s decisions enumerated above; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will work to reverse both these decisions of the court and their impact abridging Americans’ basic freedoms.

(Passed by Special Order of Business, July 17, 2022)


[1] Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022), reversing Roe v. Wade (1972) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992).

[2] New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen (2022).

[3] Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2020), Carson v. Makin (2022), Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2022), reversing Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971).

[4] West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (2020).

[5] Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), reversing McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).

[6] Shelby County v. Holder (2013), Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute (2018), Rucho v. Common Cause (2019), Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2021), reversing Davis v. Bandemer (1986).

[7] Janus v. AFSCME (2018), reversing Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977).

[8] Trump v. Hawaii (2018), Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), Fulton v. City of Philadelphia (2021).

 

(2022)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.