Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks to abortion-rights activists in front of the US Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC
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AOC called on SCOTUS protestors to “fill the streets” after the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Right now, elections are not enough,” she said.
In comments on the House floor, AOC said, “Overturning Roe puts every single one of us in danger.”
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday called on protesters outside the Supreme Court to “fill the streets,” after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — upending close to 50 years of legalized abortion nationwide.
“This is not something that is going to be solved in a day or in an election or in a year,” Ocasio-Cortez said of the effort to protect women’s reproductive rights, adding, “This is a generational fight.”
“We have to fill the streets,” Ocasio-Cortez went on to say. “Right now, elections are not enough.”
The New York Democrat said showing up at the ballot box was the “bare minimum,” adding that people need to “show up everywhere.”
Research from Harvard political scientist Erica Chenoweth has shown that if at least 3.5% of the population participates in nonviolent protests in an active and sustained way, it’s consistently effective in fomenting political changes. In the US, that would amount to approximately 11.6 million people.
“The 3.5% rule is useful in understanding the degree to which people have actually built such popular, broad-based legitimacy that they’re able to pull that number of people out,” Chenoweth told Insider in 2020. But Chenoweth also cautioned that numbers are not always enough, and that for change to occur there have to be defections among prominent people or groups in the opposition.
“Movements don’t just win because they have a mass uprising, but also that multiyear strategy where it’s building capacity to create defections, either through persuasion or imposing direct costs, nonviolently, on loyalists,” Chenoweth said. “It’s just not that everybody is suddenly like, ‘Wow, there’s so many people in the streets, we really believe what they stand for now!'”
Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most influential progressives in Congress, also delivered impassioned remarks on the House floor on Friday. She suggested that the US is now under minority rule.
“We are talking about a court with the majority of justices appointed by a party that has not won a popular presidential election more than once in 30 years ruling against the majority of Americans,” Ocasio-Cortez said of the GOP.
—Acyn (@Acyn) June 24, 2022
As Insider’s Oma Seddiq reported: The decision to overrule Roe was 5-4 in a majority opinion delivered by Justice Samuel Alito, joined by his conservative colleagues, Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Six out of nine justices on the Supreme Court are conservatives who were appointed by Republican presidents. Since 1988, only two GOP presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — won a majority of the popular vote. Under the structure of the US electoral system, winning the Electoral College vote is what matters most in presidential elections. In other words, it’s possible for presidential candidates to lose the popular vote but still win enough electors to emerge victorious.
Recent polling found that a majority of Americans (60%) believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. That said, the Supreme Court is charged with ensuring the nation’s laws do not violate the Constitution, and does not make decisions based on what’s popular among voters. Critics of the Roe decision, however, have called it unconstitutional and accuse conservative justices of injecting their religious beliefs into their interpretation of the nation’s founding document.
“Every single one of us has woken up today with less rights than we had yesterday,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Overturning Roe puts every single one of us in danger.”