It’s a well-known fact that Elizabeth Warren is an enemy to corruption. Her plans for breaking up big corporations and enforcing laws that keep them from hoarding too much power are well-documented.
But what other types of corruption is she prepared to fight? What lies in the nuts and bolts of her ideas outside of the economy?
In her stump speech, Warren lays out three areas she wants to reform: ending lobbying, preventing people moving straight from Wall Street to Washington, D.C. and protecting democracy with a number of reforms.
People are familiar with her two-cent wealth tax and her call for enforcing anti-trust laws, but another aspect of the reform concerns the judiciary.
The Supreme Court
While outlining her plan to tackle corruption in Eastern Iowa last weekend, Warren mentioned something she’s brought up before, though it often flies under the radar.
It’s an aspect of part one.
“But one you may never have thought about, but matters: make the United States Supreme Court follow basic rules of ethics,” she said, to cheers.
Currently, the district and appeals courts abide by the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, but it doesn’t apply to the Supreme Court.
A code of conduct for the Supreme Court would mean justices are held to a standard of behavior, and it would create a procedure for filing and investigating complaints.
In September, Warren put out a long Medium post on the subject of ending corruption in Washington. The judiciary, and court ethics, were a big part of that post and it turned into its own plan to make the judiciary more fair and trustworthy.
Warren also has ideas for the types of people who should sit on the Supreme Court.
“My first criteria is, I want a judge who believes in the rule of law,” she said. “I also want judges who reflect the rest of America, judges who understand what it’s like to struggle to pay a medical bill, judges who have defended people who don’t have any money, judges who really care about this country and care about our future, not just caring about themselves.”
Warren said she didn’t have anyone in mind, and she hasn’t seen the shortlist of justices put out by Demand Justice, a progressive judicial reform advocacy group.
In October, the group produced a list of people who they think should be considered for the Supreme Court. The people on the shortlist all have backgrounds matching Warren’s description of what she would look for.
And Warren’s concern about the justices on the Supreme Court isn’t new.
After Neil Gorsuch was nominated in 2017, she delivered remarks on the Senate floor arguing against his confirmation.
“Judge Gorsuch may occasionally write in vague terms about the importance of independent courts,” she said then. “But today, right now, that’s simply not good enough.”
In her remarks, Warren said she reviewed his record and noticed how he favored corporate interests and called his nomination a threat to American values.
“Now more than ever, America needs a Supreme Court that puts the law first – every single time,” she said on the Senate floor. “That means justices with a proven record of standing up for the rights of all Americans — civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and all other protections guaranteed by our laws.”
But this weekend, she didn’t stop at calling for fairer justices and a way to hold them accountable. Another key part of her plan to end corruption is ending practices that interfere with democracy.
“We Need to Protect Our Democracy”
In the final part of her three-part vision to fix the country, Warren calls for a strengthening of democracy itself.
Across the country, laws, policies and systems are in place to undermine democracy, and a strong leg of her anti-corruption message includes rooting those out.
“I’ll support a constitutional amendment to ensure the right of every American citizen to vote and to get that vote counted,” she said. “It’s time to end political gerrymandering in America, and we need to roll back every voter suppression law in this country. And just one more that I want to mention: end Citizens United. Democracy is not for sale.”
Warren laid out her vision at all of her events this weekend, step-by-step. It starts in familiar territory by attacking systemic corruption and changing the structure of the economy. But the end expands that vision beyond those bounds and asks for people to imagine bigger changes.
“For a lot of people, this may seem like three unrelated things, but for me they all go to a fundamental question: who gets opportunity in America?” Warren said at the close of her speech. “Do we want to be an America where opportunity is reserved for those born into privilege? Or an America that is an America where every single child in this country has an opportunity for a first-rate education? We can do that, to be an America where everybody has a chance and a opportunity.”
by Nikoel Hytrek