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AOC Slams Alito for Implying Checks and Balances “Shouldn’t Apply to Him”

“Alito’s next opinion piece in the WSJ is about to be ‘I am a little king, actually,’” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on July 26, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) has condemned Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito after the conservative essentially claimed that the Supreme Court has absolute power over other branches of government, including Congress.

“What a surprise, guy who is supposed to enforce checks and balances thinks checks shouldn’t apply to him,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Friday, in response to a laudatory Wall Street Journal interview with Alito published earlier that day.

She went on to say that the truth is actually the opposite of what Alito claimed in the interview. “Corruption and abuse of power must be stopped, no matter the source. In fact, the court should be *most* subject to scrutiny, because it is unelected and life appointed,” she said.

Ocasio-Cortez was responding to a particularly striking remark by Alito, who has been the subject of scrutiny after reports have uncovered that Alito has collaborated with right-wing lobbyists related to Supreme Court cases and accepted lavish gifts from right-wing billionaires with business before the Court and failed to report them.

In his interview, Alito claimed that Congress has no power over the Supreme Court at all. “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it,” Alito said. “No provision in the Constitution gives them the authority to regulate the Supreme Court — period.”

When he was asked if other justices agree, he said: “I don’t know that any of my colleagues have spoken about it publicly, so I don’t think I should say. But I think it is something we have all thought about.”

Legal experts have said that this is blatantly false, and that the Constitution actually explicitly gives Congress power to regulate the Supreme Court in plain text. Experts were also shocked that Alito would say something so flagrant.

Ocasio-Cortez continued on Friday to mock Alito’s petty claim to power. “Alito’s next opinion piece in the WSJ is about to be ‘I am a little king, actually. The Constitution doesn’t explicitly say I’m not,’” she said. “And it’d be boosted by some billionaire who secretly thinks voting rights should only belong to landed gentry.”

Other lawmakers also decried Alito’s claim.

Alito’s remark is “stunningly wrong,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) in an interview with CNN over the weekend. “It is Congress that has passed in the past requirements for justices to disclose certain information, and so it is just wrong on the facts to say that Congress doesn’t have anything to do with the rules guiding the Supreme Court.”

Murphy went on to say that it is clear that Supreme Court justices are increasingly legislating from the bench, and that it is “disturbing” that Alito thought he could weigh in on something being discussed by Congress.

“They just see themselves as a second legislative body that has just as much power and right to impose their political will on the country as Congress does,” he said. “They are going to bend the law in order to impose their right-wing view of how the country should work on the rest of us.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said that Alito’s comment is a clear escalation of the Supreme Court’s current extremist power grab.

“This seems escalatory, and nudges even reluctant court watchers and skeptics of statutory reforms towards doing something,” said Schatz. “I mean, this is a fancy way of telling everyone to pound sand because he’s untouchable.”

Ocasio-Cortez has also made similar warnings. Earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that Supreme Court justices are already “overreaching their authority” in a wide swath of decisions, adding that it is dangerous to allow them to continue on this path.

“The courts, if they were to proceed without any check on their power or balance on their power, then we will start to see an undemocratic and, frankly, dangerous authoritarian expansion of power in the Supreme Court — which is what we are seeing now,” she said.

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