At Town Hall, Sen. Warren says democracy is on the line in 2024


Staff Writer

Published: 06-25-2023 6:53 PM

HOLYOKE — Speaking to a small crowd of supporters gathered outside amid the humid heat, Sen. Elizabeth Warren lambasted the current U.S. Supreme Court for overturning Roe v. Wade one year ago, saying the court had been taken over by “extremists” who threatened to curtail further liberties unless Congress and President Joe Biden intervened.

Warren spoke at a town hall meeting Sunday held at Holyoke Community College, fielding questions from the audience and stating that democracy itself was on the line in the upcoming 2024 elections.

“These are not ordinary times that we live in in America,” Warren told the crowd. “We’re on the one-year anniversary of half the population losing a constitutionally guaranteed right. And extremists in the Republican Party, who don’t plan to stop there, are still going for more.”

The ending of Roe v. Wade has also led to fears about potential rollbacks of LGBTQ+ rights by the Supreme Court, as has a recent pushback on teaching gender and sexuality in schools across the country. In Amherst, the school district is currently facing a Title IX investigation after several middle school guidance counselors allegedly discriminated against LGBTQ+ students, with trans students in particular subject to harassment.

“I’m sorry this is happening in Massachusetts, that this is happening in America, that this is happening in 2023,” Warren said, referring to situation in Amherst. “I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, trans or cis, it doesn’t make any difference, it is your problem. Because this America is your problem.”

A longtime professor of law before being elected into the U.S. Senate in 2012, Warren said the current Supreme Court, three members of which were appointed by former President Donald Trump, had been “captured by extremists” and that she supported expanding the number of judges as a remedy to the situation.

“I want you to understand how hard it is for a law professor to come to that conclusion,” she said. “This Supreme Court has gotten so far out, they are so extremist, they are so determined not to embrace the foundation of how America was built, but to advance the agenda of a handful of billionaires and social extremists.”

Warren also touched on issues currently scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court, such as rulings on the constitutionality of affirmative action programs and Biden’s student debt relief plan. Despite her criticisms of the Supreme Court, Warren expressed optimism that the court would rule favorably for the latter, which would see up to $20,000 in student loans forgiven.

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In response to a question from Katrina Hawley, of Holyoke, about student loans, Warren said, “The plan is the Supreme Court follows the law, and if they follow the law, we’re going to get at least that much debt forgiveness,” she said. “There are multiple paths for the President to be able to cancel them, but I’m sticking with my view, and that is we don’t need them because the Supreme Court needs to follow the law.”

With her Senate seat up for election in 2024, Warren used the town hall as an opportunity to tout several causes she would pursue should she be reelected for a third term, such as universal child care, increased investment in housing and improved health care coverage.

Warren said that although Massachusetts had some of the best health care in the country, there were still areas that needed improvement, such as mental health treatment, and that more progressives needed to be elected to expand coverage.

“This is going to be a long fight,” she said. “And when we come back, we’re still going to have Democrats we’re going to have to beat into place on this…I’m sorry, I meant to have thoughtful, persuasive conversations about this,” she added to some laughter from the audience.

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Warren recently introduced a bill in the Senate that would put stricter penalties on banking executives overseeing companies with more than $10 billion in assets when those banks fail, in the wake of the recent failure of Silicon Valley Bank.

Warren was able to secure bipartisan support of the bill as well as the support of a majority of finance committee members, and told the Gazette that she was optimistic the bill would go to the Senate floor for a vote.

“I wanted a little tougher version of the bill, but we have a good compromise right now,” she said in an interview following the town hall. “I don’t think anyone, Democrat or Republican, thinks it’s a good idea for bank CEOs to pay themselves big bonuses for blowing up their banks.”

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at