House Democrats are reportedly set to introduce legislation Thursday that would, according to Fox News, be an attempted “hostile” takeover of the Supreme Court, allowing them to pack the institution with liberal justices.
The move comes less than one week after President Biden ordered the formation of a commission to study packing the highest court in the nation.
Democrat lawmakers – including Senator Ed Markey (MA), and Reps. Jerry Nadler (NY), Mondaire Jones (NY), and Hank Johnson (GA) – plan to hold a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court today.
The Intercept first reported on the Democrats’ plans to add four seats to the Supreme Court, going from nine justices to thirteen.
The move is rather blatant, considering the court now holds a – nominally – conservative bent on judges at 6-3, meaning the increase by four is no accident.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, describes the proposed legislation to pack the Supreme Court as “nothing subtle or elegant,” noting the move is little more than “a raw muscle play to take control of the court.”
Turley notes that the legislation is in brazen defiance of President Biden’s commission, designed to at least appear that Democrats are making a thoughtful decision rather than making a power grab in regards to the Supreme Court.
“Ultimately, this shows the cost of a failure of leadership in the Democratic party, including President Biden,” Turley tweeted.
“Rather than denounce court-packing,” he added, “Biden played to the far left and called for a Commission to study something he called a ‘bone headed’ and [a] ‘terrible, terrible idea.'”
Had the President denounced this takeover of the Supreme Court during the campaign, this conversation might have been squashed.
Instead, he toyed with the idea, saying he would reveal his true feelings after being elected. Then he tossed the extreme left a bone by setting up his Commission.
Now, the radicals are going right around him.
“If the report is true, they have decided not to wait for the Commission,” Turley writes.
“A move to just add 4 new justices would dispense with even the pretense of principle,” the law professor continues. “The bill will now strip away any semblance of constitutional values for members who do not denounce raw court-packing.”
Biden himself called the notion to pack the Supreme Court a “bonehead idea” during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 1983.
“President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the court,” he argued.
Biden continued, “But it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make,” before adding “it put in question … the independence of the most significant body … in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”
Another person opposed to FDR’s move was the late justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court,” she said in an interview with NPR in 2019.
Justice Stephen Breyer warned Democrats against packing the Supreme Court very recently, perhaps sensing the move was afoot.
“What I’m trying to do is to make those whose instincts may favor important structural change or other similar institutional changes such as forms of court-packing to think long and hard before they embody those changes in law,” Breyer warned at a Harvard Law School lecture.
The liberal justice added Democrats’ move could undermine “the trust that the court has gradually built.”
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