Ominous specter: Dems want to 'pack' America's highest court

Friday, January 18, 2019
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

Supreme Court justices 2019Democrats are considering a drastic move to undo conservative gains at the Supreme Court – but as a constitutional attorney explains, they'd have to win back the White House and Congress first.

President Donald Trump has placed two Supreme Court picks in half a term, shifting the balance of power on the court to the right. The two oldest members of the court, both of whom are on the liberal side of the high court, are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, and Stephen Breyer, 80. That means Trump could potentially appoint two more justices before his term is up, further bolstering the conservative presence there – and likely further frustrating liberals.

Constitutional lawyer Robert Natelson of the Independence Institute says there's not much Democrats can do about that right now. "They don't have a lot of options in the short term," he tells OneNewsNow. "President Trump is in pretty good position to appoint another justice and get that nomination approved."

But if Democrats win the White House and Congress in 2020, he fully expects them to do what's called "packing the court."

Natelson

"What they would like to do as soon as they get a Democratic president and Congress is to increase the number of justices so that they can appoint liberal progressives to the court and hopefully outweigh the more mainstream appointments we've seen in the last few years," Natelson describes.

In fact, in December the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, delivered remarks to a group of liberal activists known as Demand Justice who are pushing several radical proposals, one of which is to pack the Supreme Court with additional justices if Democrats regain power in Washington, DC.

The Constitution leaves the number of justices up to Congress. President Roosevelt tried this in the 1930s but failed when even those in his own party saw that as a naked power grab. Natelson writes that conservatives "shouldn't assume a future scheme would fail."

"The Democratic Party today is a good deal further left than the Democratic Party of 1937, and a lot less respectful of traditional institutions or of the Constitution," he concludes. "I wouldn't expect a lot of Democrats to stand up against court packing."

Making the 2020 elections, says Natelson, even more important than the 2016 contest.

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