Why the Left Shouldn’t Favor Court-Packing: The Future of SCOTUS


In the days leading up to President Donald J. Trump nominating a replacement for Anthony Kennedy on the SCOTUS, Vox reintroduced a concept from the days of FDR — court-packing.

The idea was reintroduced by the Left after Kennedy announced his retirement. On July 9, Trump announced that he had chosen Brett Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy.

Court-packing was a controversial plan introduced by FDR in 1937. His plan was to expand SCOTUS to as many as 15 justices. His claim was that it would make the nation’s highest court more efficient.  His wish was to add one additional justice to the Court for each sitting justice over the age of 70. The law would have added up to six new justices.

FDR proposed his court-packing plan after SCOTUS struck down several key pieces of his New Deal legislation. SCOTUS ruled that the key parts of his New Deal delegated too much authority to the executive branch.

FDR’s court-packing plan was never passed by Congress, but it didn’t matter. Before the bill reached the Senate floor, two Supreme Court justices sided with the majority and upheld both the National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security Act. The majority opinion was that the economy had grown large enough that federal regulation and control was warranted.

The Senate voted down FDR’s court-packing bill with a 70-22 vote. FDR later nominated his first Supreme Court justice, in 1942. His plan to pack the court with liberal justices never became a reality, but was not necessary, since the NLRA and SSA were upheld.

Last month, Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court. That paved the way for Trump to nominate his second Supreme Court justice in as many years. The news sent the Left into a frenzy.

After Kennedy’s announcement, several left-wing news websites reintroduced the idea of court-packing. Vox was one of those sites, and they included this little gem in their piece:

“… That effectively creates a way for a political party in control of the House, Senate, and the presidency to add a large number of ideologically sympathetic justices to the Court, all at once.

It’s ironic that the article would say this since the previous paragraph it explains that Trump nominating Kavanaugh pushes the Supreme Court further to the right. Of course, Vox doesn’t try to hide their actual intentions with court-packing. The article says that court-packing is an action necessary to preserve progressive legislation.

Since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, the Left has taken several defeats. Congress passed tax cut legislation. The Supreme Court made a ruling in favor of religious liberty in the case of a Colorado baker, and they upheld Trump’s travel ban. The Supreme Court made a ruling against unions in Janus v. AFSCME. Trump is cutting back regulations.

Vox, and other left-wing sites, argue that court-packing should only happen when Democrats have the majority in both houses of Congress and the White House. A progressive president should add between two and six progressive justices to the Supreme Court to ensure that progressive legislation is upheld.

It’s still ironic because they are upset that Trump has added another right-leaning justice to the Supreme Court. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Supreme Court has a conservative majority. That conservative majority will remain for years to come. Even worse for the Left, Ruther Bader Ginsburg is 85 years old, and Stephen G. Breyer will turn 80 next month. Trump could be tasked with appointing two more justices before he leaves the White House.

The Left is not happy with Trump being the president who appoints two, and possibly more, justices to the Supreme Court. Why would they want to expand the High Court, and open the door for the same thing happening, but on a more drastic scale?

For one thing, a change to the government can affect the nation for generations to come. We’ve seen presidents expand their executive power, which has led to future presidents expanding that power even more. We’ve seen Congress stand idly by while presidents attack other nations without authorization. That inaction allowed other presidents to do the same.

The Left isn’t happy with the nominations of both Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump nominated last year. Have they not considered the repercussions of allowing a president to appoint even more conservative Supreme Court justices in the future? Have they not considered that any plan they make now could backfire later?

The RIght might not pay much attention to this call for court-packing now, but they should. The same goes for liberty-minded individuals. Building a large SCOTUS marjority, no matter which direction, invites the potential for mob rule. It opens the door for like-minded justices to rule not according to the Constitution, but issue rulings based on ideology. That puts liberty in America in jeopardy.

When considering making a significant change to the government, consider this: If you wouldn’t like the other side doing it, go back and rethink your proposal. One side won’t hold the majority in the government forever. Power changes hands consistently. I encourage the Left to rethink their idea to pack the court. One day, they will regain power. My hope is that they consider any and all actions to change the government before executing a plan. Otherwise, that plan will be used against them when they lose the majority.

You can read more from Mike Ursery on Think Liberty here.


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