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Dems Introduce Bill to Pack Supreme Court, Claim Conservative Majority ‘Hostile to Democracy Itself’

Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2021
by Outside Contributor
supreme court

Democrats unveiled legislation on Thursday to expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to 13, the culmination of months of pressure from left-wing members of the party to do so after Republicans moved to quickly confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett just weeks before the election last fall.

Senator Ed Markey (D., Mass.) is sponsoring the Judiciary Act in the Senate, while Representatives Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.), Mondaire Jones (D., N.Y.) and Hank Johnson (D., Ga.) will serve as its advocates in the House.

“I wish we did not have to stand here today. I wish we didn’t have a far-right Supreme Court majority that is hostile to democracy itself,” Jones said while announcing the legislation.

Jones went on to argue that the Court’s existing conservative majority will undermine democracy by upholding voting limits.

“Bolstered by the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, this court will go further than any other in history to rig this democracy,” he said.

The addition of four judges would give Democrats the ability to supersede the court’s current 6-3 conservative majority on the court. While the high court has had nine justices since the 19th century, the number of justices is not specified in the Constitution.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday morning that she doesn’t support the court-packing bill and won’t bring it to the floor. She said she does, however, support President Biden’s commission to study the issue.

Jones said he was “not concerned” about Pelosi’s opposition to the bill, predicting support would build throughout the legislative session.

In the fall, progressives thrust court-packing to the forefront of political debate with calls to add more justices after Republicans moved forward with Barrett’s confirmation hearings just weeks before the November 3 election, creating a conservative majority on the court.

Democrats argued that the move was hypocritical after Republicans had refused to hold a confirmation hearing for former President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016. GOP leaders argued then that it would not be in the interest of Americans to appoint a justice in an election year.

Republicans were quick to criticize the new proposal, with Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) asking on Twitter, “Does expanding the Supreme Court count as infrastructure too?”

Jones responded, “Yes,” with a heart emoji.

“Imagine if we reduced the number from nine to five and just kept the Republicans. You guys would go crazy,” Jordan added, according to the Washington Times.

The proposal comes nearly one week after President Biden issued an executive order forming a bipartisan commission that will perform a 180-day study of potential changes to the Supreme Court, including court packing and setting term limits for justices.

After repeatedly dodging questions regarding his stance on expanding the Supreme Court during the campaign, Biden promised to form the bipartisan commission in October.

He said that he would clarify his stance on court-packing ahead of the election, contingent upon how Republicans “handle” Barrett’s confirmation process, though he never did.

In an interview with 60 Minutes in October, Biden instead suggested he would “put together a national commission of .. scholars, constitutional scholars, Democrats, Republicans, liberal conservative.” 

“And I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system because it’s getting out of whack, the way in which it’s being handled and it’s not about court-packing,” he said then.

The 36-member panel will be led by Bob Bauer, who served as White House counsel for former President Barack Obama, and Cristina Rodriguez, a Yale Law School professor who served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel under the Obama administration.

However, as the commission is not set to issue specific guidance at the conclusion of its study, it remains to be seen if the panel will ultimately clarify Biden’s stance on the issue.

Markey argued recently that “we need more than a commission to restore integrity to the court,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Justice Stephen Breyer cautioned last week that court packing for political gain could undermine public trust in the court and its decisions.

“I hope and expect that the court will retain its authority,” Breyer said. “But that authority, like the rule of law, depends on trust, a trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics. Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that perception, further eroding that trust.”

However, the Massachusetts Democrat disagreed, claiming that creating a 7-6 liberal majority “will shore up the public’s confidence in the court and its legitimacy in the public’s eyes,” according to the Journal.

It is unlikely the bill will receive enough support to move forward, as Republicans remain vehemently opposed to expanding the court and even a number of Democrats would be reluctant to support the legislation while Biden’s commission is underway.

“We have work to do to organize, mobilize, and spur Congress to take action to reform the court,” Markey acknowledged.

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2 years ago

What if President Trump had tried that? Oh, I’m sorry, the “far right” conservatives will be the doom of America. We got to get this country on the path of Marxism then we won’t have to worry about “We The People” crying about their freedoms.

2 years ago

The Democrats were VERY open and up-front about their intention to pack the Supreme Court before the election, should they ever regain control of the White House and of both houses of Congress. As they were with a number of other items on their agenda. They are merely following through in order to ensure that they can completely consolidate their hold over the federal government, in all three of its branches, on a permanent basis. That’s what Socialists and Marxists do to ensure their power can never be effectively challenged by peaceful means.

They are also actively working on the means to ensure they remove the non-peaceful means as an option as well. Again, also what Socialists and Marxists regimes all do. Elections have consequences. Even those that are won through fraud and manipulation, if the people do nothing. Meanwhile the best the GOP minority leader in the Senate can muster is yet another half-hearted response that would put most people to sleep. Are we having fun yet?

2 years ago

Just the final piece as they seek to take over our country at all levels–permanently. We’ve had left/liberal courts for years; why is it such a huge deal if for once it is more conservative (I disagree with “far-right”)? Isn’t it our turn? Further, some of the “conservative” justices have voted with the liberals on some critical issues lately, to our disappointment and the liberals’ delight.

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