Here comes the Democrats' court packing plan

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Some of you are probably old enough to remember all the way back to October 22 of last year, when Joe Biden told CBS’ Norah O’Donnell that the “judicial reform” commission he was proposing if elected as president wasn’t about “court-packing.” In fact, as Politico pointed out at the time, both Biden and Kamala Harris had repeatedly either ducked the question of packing the Supreme Court or simply refused to answer. The reason was obvious. It was and remains a seriously unpopular proposal. And yet, here we are, with Democrats who are unwilling to wait for Biden’s commission to assemble preparing to enter a bill in both chambers that would do just that. The odds of this effort to pass remain low (thankfully), but it once again demonstrates that there are no limits to the ambitions of the crybabies of the progressive left. (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)


Democratic lawmakers plan to introduce legislation on Thursday that would add four seats to the Supreme Court, an initiative that has slim hopes of passage but reflects progressives’ impatience with President Biden’s cautious approach toward overhauling a court that turned to the right during the Trump administration.

Last week, Mr. Biden signed an executive order establishing a 36-member commission to report back within six months on possible changes to the Supreme Court’s membership, jurisdiction and lifetime terms. Mr. Biden appointed former Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer and Yale law professor Cristina Rodriguez as co-chairmen of the commission; other members include many widely respected scholars, including some noted conservatives.

“We need more than a commission to restore integrity to the court,” said Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who is co-sponsoring the legislation with the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, and Reps. Hank Johnson of Georgia and Mondaire Jones of New York.

Ed Markey seems to be the public face of this circus in the early stages and he’s done himself no favors in trying to sell the plan. When asked by reporters if packing the court to create a slender liberal majority on the bench would damage the court’s image as an apolitical entity, Markey said the move “will shore up the public’s confidence in the court and its legitimacy in the public’s eyes.”

That would be hilarious if it weren’t such an offensive proposition to begin with. If you think that we have an incorrect number of justices serving on the court (since roughly the time of the Civil War), why not add two more? Or why not add eight more? How did you arrive at the number four? Oh, that’s right. There is currently a hypothetical six to three conservative advantage on the bench. (It’s actually more like five and a half to three and a half when you factor in John Roberts’ wishy-washy nature.) So adding four liberals would give the left a seven to six majority. Isn’t that a convenient coincidence?


As the WSJ points out, this will almost certainly turn out to be little more than a stunt designed to gain a few favorable headlines for the most liberal members of Congress. There is not a single Republican vote for such an idea in either chamber and there are a number of Democrats who edge away from the idea as well. And there’s a good reason for that. Virtually every poll taken on this subject has produced the same results. A New York Times – Sienna poll taken just before the election found that a solid majority of Americans were firmly against expanding the court while less than a third were in favor of it.

Of course, we’re past the point where such a move should surprise us now. The current crop of Democrats in Congress (along with the President) are pushing any number of plans that are about as popular as a dumpster fire with the public. Eliminating voter ID is opposed by a solid majority. Tax increases are a non-starter for most people. Gun bans and mandatory weapon confiscation flies in the face of record gun sales among law-abiding citizens fearful for their safety while riots in the streets dominate the news.

But the Democrats clearly don’t care about what the majority thinks. That’s become obvious by now. And they may still wind up paying for the tone-deaf nature of their proposal next year, the same way they did in 2010.

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David Strom 1:20 PM | July 18, 2024