By John Kanelis / firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen up, my progressive friends. I am going to say something that will pi** you off.
U..S. Senate Democrats are seeking to do something that I fundamentally oppose. They want to add four seats to the U.S. Supreme Court, packing it with justices more to their liking. That is a bad call.
What we have here is a slippery slope that can do as much harm over the longer haul than any “repair” that Democrats think will occur were Congress to actually agree with packing the court.
I now feel compelled to stipulate that I do not like the philosophical composition of the Supreme Court. It comprises six conservative justices and three liberals. Donald J. Trump nominated three of the justices and got them approved during his term in office. Did it infuriate me? Yes. It did, particularly after Senate Republicans denied President Obama the opportunity to have a justice seated after the sudden death in early 2016 of conservative icon Antonin Scalia.
As they say, elections have consequences. Trump was elected in 2016 and then Republicans who ran the Senate were able to confirm three Trump SCOTUS nominees.
But is the proper response now to expand the court, allowing President Biden to nominate justices who would grant liberals the judicial edge on the Supreme Court? No. It must not happen.
Why not? Because such a dramatic notion gives conservatives an opening to respond in kind were they to regain the White House and regain control of the Senate. Might they want to add another two seats, expanding the court to, say, 15 justices, allowing a GOP president and Senate to construct a conservative majority?
Let’s be real. The Constitution does not specify how many justices should sit on the high court. Indeed, the number has changed over the two centuries of our republic. Nine of them have presided for many decades. The number of justices is sufficient.
As for the court’s philosophical makeup, elections and attrition ought to be allowed to determine the SCOTUS composition.
President Biden is on record opposing court packing. He wants a commission to study high court procedures. Biden plans to set a 180-day period for a panel to make its recommendations on how we might reform the court.
Let’s tinker around the edges of that process. Packing the court with four new seats, though, is the wrong path to take.