Democrats in both the House and Senate are working on new legislation to pack the Supreme Court with four new justices. The change would alter the balance of power in the current nine-seat court.
The bill is led by House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-CA), Subcommittee chair Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY). In the Senate, the bill is led by Ed Markey (D-MA).
President Joe Biden announced last week he had created a commission to study increasing the size of the Supreme Court. Last year, Biden told voters they did not deserve to know his view of court packing.
The current Supreme Court includes six conservative and three liberal justices. Three justices were nominated and appointed during the four years former President Donald Trump served in the White House, flipping the advantage to conservatives.
Democrats already hold control in the House and have an advantage in the Senate with a 50-50 tie that includes Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker. With Biden in White House, all that remains is to take power of the Supreme Court.
However, justices are appointed, not elected. In addition, Supreme Court justices have no term limits. Justices often serve a decade or longer, leaving only due to health concerns or death.
The Democratic court packing plan seeks to eliminate this concern. By adding four justices, Democrats could potentially nominate and appoint four new liberal justices immediately. The move would give liberals a 7 to 6 advantage in the Supreme Court.
Changing the structure of Supreme Court, however, holds numerous concerns. Even former Democrat Senator Harry Reid (NV) warned last week that Democrats should be careful with trying to pack the Supreme Court.
“I think it’s — we should be very, very careful in doing so. I have no problem with the commission, but I think that the commission is going to come back and disappoint a lot of people because I think they’re going to come back and say, we should just kind of leave it alone.”
“I think it would be inappropriate at this time after that long history we’ve had in the country [to] have term limits for judges. I think that we better be very, very careful in saying that we need to expand the Supreme Court. I think we better be very, very, careful,” he added.
That’s one statement by a Democrat conservatives can agree with. The left’s goal should not be to change the rules, but to remain in power to nominate justice openings as they arise.
But for many on the left, this is too slow for their progressive agenda. Some have publicly pushed for liberal Justice Stephen Breyer to retire this year to allow Democrats to replace him while they hold power in Congress. Breyer is 82 years old.
Let’s hope the Democrats don’t get their wish. Those who desire limited government hope for less government influence, not more. Just because the left doesn’t get what they want is no excuse to change the rules.