Critics say plan by power-mad Dems will 'blow up in their faces'

Friday, April 16, 2021
 | Staff (

'Expand the Court' by Dems (April 2021)While they may have a majority in Congress, Democrats face an uphill battle with a bill to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court from 9 to 13. Conservative critics don't expect them to succeed – and some even argue it will benefit Republicans.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) reportedly has no plans to bring the bill from Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-New York), Mondaire Jones (D-New York), and Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) to the floor for a vote. Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) also supports the legislation – but like Pelosi, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was noncommittal as well.

"The Republicans stole two seats on the Supreme Court, and now it is up to us to repair that damage," Senator Markey said Thursday at a press conference outside the Supreme Court.

While both Pelosi and Durbin may be a no, the issue isn't going away. President Joe Biden signed an executive order one week ago to establish a commission to discuss Supreme Court reforms, one of them being the idea of adding justices to the high court. Zack Smith of The Heritage Foundation hopes it never becomes reality.


"The judicial branch is not meant to be a political branch of government," Smith tells One News Now. "Anyone – regardless of political affiliation, race, ethnicity, gender – should be able to go to our courts and get a free, fair hearing without the influence of politics."

That is the concern for critics when it comes to what's being described as "court-packing." That term refers to the notion of expanding the size of the Supreme Court so that its composition, and its decisions on key issues, will quickly change.

Another part of a 'power grab'

Republicans and conservatives are blasting the Democrats' plan. During an interview with Fox News, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) – who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee – said the move to pack the Supreme Court shows Democrats "are really drunk with power." But Matt Whitlock, a former staffer at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, describes the move as "a fantastic gift" to the NRSC.

Robert Knight, a conservative activist and a columnist for The Washington Times, agrees with both Graham and Whitlock.


"… It's not enough that they now control the three federally elected branches of government – both houses of Congress and the White House. And they did so during an election marred by numerous election irregularities," Knight tells One News Now. "Now they're talking about packing the Supreme Court. They want to control every last institution. This is outrageous."

Knight predicts the push to pack the Court will ultimately help Republicans in the 2022 midterms. "I think it will backfire. It's going to blow up in their faces," he says, "because they look so power-mad that even people who weren't paying much attention are going to take notice and push back."

Increasing the number of liberal Supreme Court justices, says Knight, would "turn it into a rubber stamp for the Marxists who are now running Congress [and] will only serve to actually improve the prospects of the Republican Party in the 2022 elections."

FRC's Tony Perkins agrees in a column titled "Dems pave a gavel road to court-packing." He writes:

"Thanks to the Left's overreach in Georgia, the border crisis, the trillions of dollars in spending, and corporate woke-ism, the Republican base is already motivated. This is like adding dynamite to an inferno. Back in 2016, the Supreme Court was one of the biggest reasons people said they voted for Donald Trump. Five years later, they still have major concerns about the Left's ideas for turning the bench into a super legislature."

Supreme Court justices 2019Nine has been good for a long time

One News Now asked Heritage's Zack Smith if there's anything in the law or in the Constitution that specifies the number of justices on the Supreme Court?

"No, there's not – but for many, many years, in fact since 1869, the number of justices has been fixed at nine," answers Smith. "The only time there's previously been a serious push, especially within the last 100 years or so, to change that number was in the 1930s."

That was when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed to increase the number of justices. But Smith explains because the problems with his plan were so apparent and because it would have undermined the public's confidence in the judiciary, FDR's own party pushed back against him and killed the plan.

"So, it's really disappointing to see this plan coming back," Smith adds.

While a U.S. senator in the 1980s, Joe Biden referred to FDR's plan as a "bonehead idea."

Editor's note: Image of Supreme Court justices above shows composition of the high court in 2019.

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