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Resolutions & Amendments

45th International Convention - Philadelphia (2022)

Restoring Confidence in the Federal Judiciary

Resolution No. 34


Appointing judges to the federal bench whose education and professional careers show an understanding of and a dedication to workers’ rights, and whose backgrounds reflect the racial, ethnic, gender and cultural diversity of our country is critical; and


The appointment of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court is a striking example of an extraordinary judge who will bring a new and different voice to the Supreme Court. Her nomination was enthusiastically supported by AFSCME and by a strong majority of Americans based on her exceptional qualifications, experience, character, integrity and dedication to the Constitution and the rule of law; and


Current nominees to the federal bench stand in stark contrast to past nominees who had a proven record of hostility toward workers’ rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, immigrants’ rights, environmental protection and basic fairness for all Americans; and


Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, especially since the emergence of a six-justice conservative majority, have been increasingly out of touch with the needs of American society in the 21st century and are contrary to the court’s own norms and practices. The most controversial decisions of the court are not driven by a judicial philosophy but are a results-oriented effort to impose a rigid and partisan view of federal policy and individual rights. In recent years, the Supreme Court has destabilized our democracy in its decisions on voting rights and political participation by corporations; it has overturned decades-old precedent in its Janus decision to burden public sector unions; it has made it more difficult for victims of discrimination under Title VII to seek justice; it has overturned its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade; it has invalidated a 111-year-old law to make it more difficult for states to pass commonsense gun laws; it has eroded the separation between church and state; it has relied excessively on a “shadow docket” to avoid transparency and scrutiny of some of its decisions; and, perhaps most ominously, it has limited the ability of federal agencies to protect the health and welfare of the nation both in the workplace and by making it more difficult to address climate change and other environmental hazards. Justices also shield themselves from ethics requirements and conflict of interest recusals to which all other judges are subject.


AFSCME will continue to play a key role in the federal judicial nominations process to promote and support nominees who will make fair-minded judges who will protect the rights of all Americans, including the right of workers to join together to seek justice in their places of work, and who respect the long-held precedent and consensus opinion about the authority of federal agencies to protect the health and welfare of all Americans; and


AFSCME will support appropriate reforms to restore balance, fairness, ethical behavior and proper procedure to the Supreme Court to enable our nation to meet contemporary challenges; and


AFSCME will encourage the nomination of and support the confirmation of judges diverse in race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin and age, and also judges diverse in professional background who have an appreciation for worker issues and who have at some point in their careers advocated for individuals in need, not just the privileged or corporate interests; and


AFSCME will continue to work to educate the public and our members about the importance of placing fair-minded judges on the federal bench and about how decisions by the federal courts relate to our lives as workers, residents and citizens.