Supreme Court packing legislation to be unveiled by Congressional Democrats
Mississippi’s Republican federal delegation members oppose the Democrat power grab.
By Frank Corder
Democrats in Congress are set to announce legislation that would expand the U.S. Supreme Court from 9 to 13, a proposal the most progressive left in their party had been floating during the Trump Administration and throughout the 2020 campaign cycle.
Liberal Supreme Court Justices have spoken out against such a move.
Current Justice Stephen Breyer said last week that structural alteration to the court or adding members in such a politically charged time would further erode trust in the court as it would be seen as being motivated by the perception of political influence.
Former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg called the idea of expanding the court a bad idea prior to her passing, saying if anything would make the court appear partisan it would be that.
Yet, despite warnings from those Justices, Democrats are moving forward with their plans.
The legislation to expand the Supreme Court is being proposed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Reps. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
The fact that Nadler is part of this group would appear to indicate the measure could receive a favorable vote in the U.S. House as the New York Congressman has been a faithful lieutenant of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
This comes after President Joe Biden established the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States last week. According to the White House release, the Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals. The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.
In an email sent to supporters, Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS4) said when former President Donald Trump filled three Supreme Court vacancies during his administration, shifting the Court‘s balance to a 6-3 conservative majority, it “triggered liberals around the country.”
“To appeal to his progressive base, Joe Biden announced last Friday that he would create a new commission to study the impacts of expanding the Supreme Court bench,” Palazzo said. “He also ordered this unelected commission to look into the unprecedented notion of imposing term limits on Justices, a move that explicitly flies in the face of the Founding Fathers’ vision and our Constitution.”
Congressman Palazzo said President Biden cannot unilaterally expand the number of Supreme Court Justices, adding that he must get a majority of the House and Senate to vote in favor of such an expansion.
“I will never vote to expand the number of Supreme Court Justices,” Palazzo said.
Congressman Michael Guest agreed, saying in a tweet Wednesday night:
“Even the most progressive Justices of our time have opposed packing the court. Moderates and Conservatives must fight to defend the judicial branch of our government from attempts by the radical-left to undermine the Supreme Court.”
In an October 2020 op-ed, Senator Roger Wicker said adding seats to the court to change its ideological balance should concern every American.
“There have been nine seats on the Supreme Court for more than 150 years, providing stability and trust in the rule of law,” Wicker wrote. “To protect this tradition, I am supporting several measures in the Senate that would help prevent a change to the number of seats on the Supreme Court.”
Wicker and fellow Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith joined other Republican colleagues in introducing two proposals to protect the number of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and prevent future partisan manipulation of the Court’s size. The senators launched the legislative effort in response to the threats from national Democrats to “pack” the U.S. Supreme Court by expanding its size and adding reliably-liberal justices under a possible future Democrat-led government.
“Having nine justices on the United States Supreme Court has worked for more than 150 years. Today, the long-standing checks and balances that are the foundation of our democracy would be thrown into crisis if threats to pack the court are successful. Packing the court is all about politics and power, not principle,” Hyde-Smith said in a release announcing the moves.