After news broke on Wednesday that House and Senate Democrats were reportedly preparing to introduce legislation to pack the Supreme Court with four new justices, GOP leaders immediately rose to condemn the idea.
Senator Mike Lee of Utah, constitutional scholar and author of “Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America’s Founding Document,” stated, “Packing the court is an act of arrogant lawlessness. Those behind this effort spit in the face of judicial independence.”
Packing the court is an act of arrogant lawlessness. Those behind this effort spit in the face of judicial independence.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) April 15, 2021
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas tweeted succinctly, “Packing the Supreme Court would destroy the Supreme Court. The Democrats will do anything for power.”
Packing the Supreme Court would destroy the Supreme Court.
The Democrats will do anything for power.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) April 15, 2021
Mark Meadows, former representative from North Carolina and chair of the Freedom Caucus who also served as former President Trump’s Chief of Staff between 2020 to 2021, stated: “The moderate left is gone. This is who they are now. Open borders. Outlawing voter ID. Free healthcare for illegal migrants. And now court packing. This should be roundly rejected.”
The moderate left is gone.
This is who they are now. Open borders. Outlawing voter ID. Free healthcare for illegal migrants. And now court packing.
This should be roundly rejected. https://t.co/Y3qtlUzB8b
— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) April 14, 2021
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska asserted, “This progressive court packing commission is going nowhere fast. President Biden knows that he doesn’t even have the votes in his own party to pack the court; he knows that court packing is a non-starter with the American people; and he knows that this commission’s report is just going to be a taxpayer-funded door stopper. What the president doesn’t have is the courage to come out and flatly tell the radical left that he’s not going to pack the Supreme Court.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee added, “Joe Biden and the radical left will destroy our institutions to seize power. This means eradicating the electoral college and the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court.”
Biden appears to have radically changed his position since 1983, when during a debate over whether Congress should permit President Ronald Reagan to replace members of the Commission on Civil Rights, he opposed the commissioners Reagan had nominated because he thought the Commission’s image would be delegitimized, and likened it to Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court. He stated:
President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the court. It was totally within his right to do that. He violated no law. He was legalistically, absolutely correct. But it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make. And it put in question, if for an entire decade, the independence of the most significant body — including the Congress in my view — the most significant body in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
1983: Sen. @JoeBiden calls FDR's attempt to pack the Supreme Court a "bonehead idea."
"It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make, and it put in question there for an entire decade the independence of THE most significant body… in this country." pic.twitter.com/MEPu0fMRG4
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 9, 2021
After winning reelection in 1936, Roosevelt proposed the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, which would permit the president to appoint an additional justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, up to a maximum of six, for every member of the court over the age of 70 years and 6 months. Even Roosevelt’s vice-president, John Nance Garner, opposed the plan and actually rallied the opposition to it.
The Senate Judiciary Committee in 1937, which was controlled by Democrats, condemned Roosevelt’s plan as “a needless, futile and utterly dangerous abandonment of constitutional principle … without precedent or justification.”
As The Daily Wire reported:
Court packing is so toxic that even socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) does not support it and has warned that if Democrats do it then “the next time the Republicans are in power they will do the same thing.”
Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the idea after Biden’s White House announced it was creating a commission to study packing the Supreme Court. McConnell said:
Today’s announcement is a direct assault on our nation’s independent judiciary and yet another sign of the Far Left’s influence over the Biden Administration. Rational observers know well there is nothing about the structure or operation of the judicial branch that requires ‘study.’ Constitutional scholars and the justices themselves have repeatedly affirmed the position of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: ‘nine seems to be a good number.’ Justice Breyer said just this week that ‘structural alteration’ like court packing would mean ‘eroding’ the public’s trust in the judiciary. And by overwhelming margins, the American people agree. …
[A]nyone who was surprised by the creation of a commission on packing the Supreme Court simply hasn’t been paying attention. This faux-academic study of a nonexistent problem fits squarely within liberals’ years-long campaign to politicize the Court, intimidate its members, and subvert its independence. … this is just another example of the liberal preference for attacking norms and institutions, rather than working within them. When Democrats lose a floor vote, it’s time to change Senate rules. When they lose a presidential election, it’s time to abolish the Electoral College. And when activists’ cases fall flat against the rule of law, it’s time to ignore Justices Ginsburg and Breyer and pack the Supreme Court.
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