With Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett safely ensconced on the Supreme Court, conservatives appear to hold a rather dominant 6-3 majority there. (Or at least until the court-packing begins if Democrats sweep the elections one week from today.) But to be honest, it’s really more like a five and a half to three and a half majority, considering the way that Chief Justice John Roberts has been voting ever since Kennedy retired. And that phenomenon is what at least some liberals are pinning their hopes on in terms of avoiding a complete blockade of “progressive” rule in the United States. At the Washington Post, Dana Milbank does a bit of cheerleading for the blue team, offering a glimmer of hope that all may not be lost. He implores the Chief Justice to “act, and fast” to prevent his court from turning into some sort of conservative version of Animal House.
Monday’s Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, preceded by a pell-mell scramble to seat her before next week’s election and followed by an unseemly campaign-style celebration at the White House, shreds whatever remained of the high court’s integrity and independence.
Whether the court regains its independence or cements itself as a third partisan branch of government is now largely up to Chief Justice John Roberts. If he does not act, and fast, to mitigate the court’s politicization, Democrats will be fully justified in expanding the court’s membership to restore balance — and indeed will face a public outcry if they don’t.
You wouldn’t have needed a crystal ball to predict before even reading this op-ed that Milbank would use the excuse of a “hyperpartisan” court as justification to begin packing the court as soon as possible. And of course, he doesn’t disappoint, wagging that threat in front of the country right off the bat.