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Will Calls to Pack the Supreme Court Ever Gain Traction?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Democrats are increasingly pressuring President Biden to pack the Supreme Court in response to recent rulings they find objectionable. Leftist lawmakers argue that the current court is illegitimate because they are not ruling in favor of progressive causes and have called for the passage of bills to expand the court and establish ethical standards.

Progressives have been calling for packing the Supreme Court for years, but the idea remains widely unpopular with the American public. It is not likely that progressives will get their way anytime soon, but could this effort bear fruit in the future?

High-profile leftists have been more aggressive in calling on the president to support the idea of expanding the highest court in the land:

The Congressional Progressive Caucus redoubled its efforts to impose term limits and confirm new justices to outweigh the current 6-3 conservative majority. Democrats have also pushed claims that the current court is illegitimate, an argument Biden himself contributed to after the end of affirmative action last month.

“We must pass Reps. Jerry Nadler, Hank Johnson, and Mondaire Jones’ Judiciary Act to add justices and expand the Supreme Court, and their Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act to institute a Supreme Court ethics and recusal standard and require disclosure of lobbying and dark money interests,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a Wednesday statement.

“Recent partisan decisions by the Supreme Court that destroyed historic protections for reproductive rights, voting rights and more have undermined public trust in the court — even as inappropriate financial relationships between justices and conservative donors raised new questions about its integrity,” Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., said.

Progressives’ pleas regarding the court are not likely to go anywhere at the moment. The public is not yet on board with the idea of adding more justices to the court. Last year, a Marist Poll revealed that just after the court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, 54 percent of Americans indicated they did not favor packing the court.

The concept of packing the Supreme Court, which involves increasing the number of justices to tip the ideological balance, has been met with widespread disapproval. Even President Joe Biden has rejected the idea, recognizing the potential damage it could inflict on the independence and integrity of the highest court in the land.

However, recent Supreme Court rulings that have disappointed progressives may fuel renewed interest in court packing, particularly if Democrats gain control of both the White House and Congress.

While those on the left argue in favor of adding more justices because the court is supposedly partisan, it is rather disingenuous, given that the only reason they want to go down this road is to advance their agenda. The foundation of a strong judicial system lies in its independence and impartiality. Packing the Supreme Court by expanding its size solely for ideological purposes threatens the balance of power among the branches of government.

Expanding the size of the court would risk destabilizing existing precedents and compromising the consistency of legal rulings. The court’s legitimacy rests on its ability to provide stable and predictable interpretations of the law, ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice.

Moreover, if court packing were to become a regular practice, it would set a dangerous precedent for future administrations. Each party in power could feel compelled to expand the court whenever it faces unfavorable rulings or seeks to impose its own ideological agenda. Exactly how big do progressives want the Supreme Court to be? This would create an escalating cycle of court packing, rendering the court irrelevant.

Packing the Supreme Court would transform the institution into a political football, subject to the whims of each administration. We already have far too many political footballs in the world of American politics, don’t we?

The bottom line is that, as President Barack Obama said, “Elections have consequences.” The reason why the current makeup of the Supreme Court is making progressives cry is because former President Donald Trump won in 2016. The authoritarian left is upset by this because it is making it harder for them to infringe on religious freedom and the Second Amendment, while also curtailing their efforts to kill as many unborn children as possible.

The idea remains unpopular in 2023, but who is to say that this effort won’t gain steam in the future? The Supreme Court is almost sure to issue more rulings that rankle feathers on the left. Democrats and their close friends and allies in the activist media will spin hard to persuade the American public that the court is threatening their way of life.

If Democrats wind up controlling the White House and legislature, their lawmakers will be under even more pressure to go along with this agenda, which means it could eventually happen if Republicans are not up to the task of fighting them. Folks who don’t want progressives to force their will on the rest of us better continue paying close attention to the debate over the Supreme Court. If these people get their way, it will be disastrous for the nation.

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