Progressives Revive Push for Packing the Supreme Court
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
An old cause among progressives has gotten new attention since Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death: packing the Supreme Court.
In an earlier version of the court-packing fight erupted in the wake of the nomination fight over now-Justice Bret Kavanaugh. Court packers argued having more Supreme Court justices would “restore democracy to our democracy.”
Now, it’s seen in some quarters as a way to overcome a GOP move to replace the late Justice Ginsburg with a Trump nominee – presumably after both a Joe Biden presidential victory and a Democratic takeover of the Senate.
Two very big “ifs.” But Let’s assume both happen. Does an expanded Supreme Court necessarily follow? Politico’s Jeff Greenfield writes such a move would roil the Democratic Party, possibly pitting a President Biden against congressional progressives.
But, Greenfield says, Court-packing might just become part of the Democratic mainstream – regardless of what Biden thinks – if the Senate approves Mr. Trump’s nominee:
There’s a good reason that more than 80 years ago, in a time of turmoil, a Democratic president at the peak of his political power nonetheless found his plans thwarted by members of his own party, who found the cost of tinkering with constitutional machinery too high a price to pay. If McConnell calls a lame-duck session in the face of an electoral loss to lock in a conservative court majority, however, it’s hard to imagine any such concerns staying the hands of Democrats.
While the constitution does not say how many Supreme Court justices should have, we’ve had nine since the Grant administration. We could have more – or fewer – justices, and probably get along just fine.
Regardless of the number, we should be looking for ways to take the stress out of court appointments. One idea: term limits for justices. One term of 10 years, or perhaps two of five years, with a retention hearing in between. Not a perfect solution, but one that might take some of the drama out of future nominations.