Supreme Court watchdog groups
It is of some comfort to know that a thorough discussion takes place every time a controversial law or judicial case is brought to the Supreme Court’s attention. Nevertheless, the political composition of the Court, due to the fact that the president of the United States nominates every justice, constantly reminds everyone that a certain amount of influence and pressure can be put on the justices by the political world.
To reduce the Court to a battleground between Republicans and Democrats would be simplistic and untrue. In his book, “The Nine,” Jeffrey Toobin clearly demonstrates how justices that were elected by Republican presidents turned out to be more liberal, and vice versa. Even when the Court would have an overwhelming majority of judges appointed by Republican presidents, the Court still ruled on issues such as Roe V Wade. Still, the justices know that almost every decision they make will have inevitable political (and maybe even electoral) repercussions.
It is therefore fundamental to have many watchdog and oversight groups that are able to keep an eye open on what the Court might decide on delicate issues such as abortion, sex and racial discrimination, gay rights or international law.
Women’s rights are perhaps the most delicate issue when it comes to the subject of abortion. Groups such as the National Organization for Women pay close attention to every decision the Court makes on women’s rights. (abortion, sexual discrimination) The group was very critical of a 2007 Court decision to uphold an abortion procedure ban in the cases of Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood. The organization has also “fought tooth and nail against the confirmation of Roberts, and even more passionately against Alito,” it says on its website.
There are also groups that strongly oppose Roe v. Wade, and would want to see it overturned by the newly shaped conservative Supreme Court. The National Right to Life Committee was created right after the Roe v. Wade decision, (1973) and has grown to about 3,000 chapters spread throughout the country.
Overall, there are many oversight groups that follow the Court’s decisions regardless of the subject. The American Civil Liberties Union, Change.org or Amnesty International are just some of the major watchdog groups that can help individuals have their voices heard inside the nation’s most influential and important Court.