After the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September, the Democrats responded to President Trump’s move to immediately replace her with threats of Total War if he and then-Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to confirm her replacement before the election.
Democrats from then-Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Rep. AOC all said in so many words that everything should be on the table in regards to “reforming” the SCOTUS, including court-packing. It became a line-in-the-sand campaign promise for some after Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed.
While Biden deliberately dodged questions prior to the election about whether he would support packing the Supreme Court, once he took office the push from the party’s far-left flank was again on. As a result, last week he signed an executive order creating a supposedly bipartisan commission of “experts” to “study” the issue of court-packing and possible term limits for Supreme Court Justices.
But for some House Democrats, that wasn’t enough. This morning, a group of them including House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced a bill to expand the Supreme Court to 13 Justices. Here was his rationale:
Rep. Nadler on his bill to expand the Supreme Court: “As our country has grown, so should the Supreme Court. 13 justices for 13 circuits is a logical progression…and to rectify the great injustice that was done in packing the court.” https://t.co/Z1gC6BePs8 pic.twitter.com/sb0gJGEFMA
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 15, 2021
This bit of stupidity was also uttered during the announcement, to the surprise of absolutely no one:
NADLER: “We’re not packing the Supreme Court, we’re unpacking it” pic.twitter.com/LQJyzVpYem
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) April 15, 2021
The problem with Nadler’s efforts, however, is that Pelosi made clear during a press briefing today that she has no intention of bringing his bill to the floor:
Pelosi was asked during a press briefing if she supported a bill brought forward by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to expand the Supreme Court by four seats and if she would bring it to the House floor.
“No. I support the president’s commission to study such a proposal, but frankly I’m not — right now, we’re back, our members, our committees are working. We’re putting together the infrastructure bill and the rest,” Pelosi said.
— The Hill (@thehill) April 15, 2021
But while it was amusing for those of us in the cheap seats to see Nadler shut down by Pelosi on the same day he announced his bill, the issue is obviously far from settled. Though Pelosi is not interested in a floor debate at this time on the issue, she is interested to see what the “bipartisan” commission determines:
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea or a bad idea. I think it’s an idea that should be considered and I think the president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing. It’s a big step,” she continued.
Pelosi added of expanding the court: “It’s not out of the question. It has been done before in the history of our country a long time ago. And the growth of our country, the size of our country, the growth of our challenges in terms of the economy, etc., might necessitate such a thing.”
In other words, she actually does support court-packing, but she’s trying to slow-roll the issue and lower the temperature in D.C. by giving Biden’s sham commission all the time they need to pretend like they are really going to be serious about studying the matter from an objective point of view — so as to make what we’re supposed to believe will be informed and studious recommendations as to how and if to proceed.
If I can see right through what she’s doing, I know Republicans on the Hill can. They can and should proceed accordingly, with a sustained and relentless pushback campaign on this matter for the duration of the commission, because it’s absolutely a political loser for Democrats and at a time when their majority in the House is razor-thin.
Keeping this issue in the spotlight will put added pressure on Democrats in swing districts to the point that it could bubble over into a public war of words between swing-district Democrats, House leadership, and the Biden White House. It would be the “Dems in Disarray” scenario all over again, except the 2022 edition.
Will Congressional Republicans be smart about this and play the issue to their political advantage over the next year and a half? I have my doubts, but we shall see.