As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden staunchly refused to tell voters whether or not he would pack the Supreme Court. However, he is now addressing the issue by creating a “commission” that will analyze the issue for him. The commission will apparently address the membership of the court, the size of the court, and how long the Justices on the court should serve. It is scheduled to formally deliver its recommendation in 180 days.
A large segment of the population is sure to be irate no matter what course of action President Biden takes. Progressives are demanding that the President expand the court and nominate progressive justices in an effort to tilt the court further left. The fact that there is a 6-3 conservative majority on the court is simply unacceptable to those who want to radically change the United States.
On the other hand, conservatives are adamantly opposed to court packing. The last president to try such a course of action was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He never went through with his promise, but it is believed that his threat motivated some of the justices to decide courses in his administration’s favor.
This time, the threat may not work. The nation is becoming increasingly polarized, and it is very possible that Republican governors and even mayors may simply ignore dictates from a packed court. Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer has warned of such a scenario, noting that packing the court would turn it into a political institution. Naturally, progressive activists in the Democratic Party not only refused to listen to him, but subsequently demanded that he resign because he didn’t agree with their demands. The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, regarded as a champion of progressivism, warned of the same outcome, and vocally opposed court-packing before her death. However, her warnings have long been forgotten by those who don’t want to remember them.
The Senate would need to confirm new any additional Justices that the President may nominate, and the Democrats have an extremely slim majority in the upper chamber. Progressives would have to convince moderate Democrat Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to vote for the new Justices, a move both Senators may refuse.
Pundits have claimed that Biden’s new commission isn’t itself packed with radical progressives. According to most reports, they are Constitutional scholars who work closely with existing Supreme Court Justices who aren’t fans of court-packing. There is a very good chance the Commission may not recommend drastic changes to the court. However, the ball is already rolling. Court packing is now part of the mainstream conversation. Unless this proposal is crushed, we will keep seeing attempts to cripple the Court’s credibility.