Carl: Democrats’ court-packing plan is bad for Americans
Democrats have been struggling to force their radical agenda through Congress, so now they are trying to pack the Supreme Court by adding 4 additional justices. House Democrats, led by Jerry Nadler, unveiled the Judiciary act of 2021 last week, which would ultimately expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 13 justices.
After the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett last year, President Trump had effectively managed to reshape the Supreme Court for the next several decades (which is arguably one of his most tangible accomplishments). Thanks to President Trump, the Supreme Court now has a 6-3 majority, creating a huge problem for Democrats. Unable to ram through their radical agenda without interference from the courts, many Democrats are now seeking to change any rule they find a nuisance or a hinderance. That’s nothing new for them, though.
Until recently, there have not been any serious attempts to pack the courts. The most recent attempt was by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. When the Supreme Court repeatedly struck down various pieces of New Deal legislation, FDR decided he would simply change the rules. He made a proposal to add more members to the court, but the proposal was ultimately struck down by Congress and the number of seats remained at 9 – the same number of seats since 1869.
President Biden did not take a clear stance on court-packing during the 2020 presidential campaign, but in 1983, then-Senator Joe Biden said court-packing was a “bonehead idea.” He also went so far as to say during a 2019 primary debate that packing the Supreme Court would destroy “any credibility the court has at all.” However, since taking office, Biden has been laying the groundwork for a commission to study expanding the Supreme Court.
Despite efforts by many Democrats in the House to pack the court, Nancy Pelosi has realized how strong the opposition to court-packing is among House Republicans and even some House Democrats. Soon after the Judiciary Act of 2021 was introduced last week, Pelosi was forced to go on the record and admit she does not have the votes to bring this court-packing legislation to the floor for a vote. Even though the Democrats have a majority in the House, the margins are extremely thin, so Pelosi can no longer completely ignore Republican opposition to her radical agenda.
Packing the Supreme Court would further politicize the institution and would be a horrible deal for all Americans. Several of my Republican colleagues and I have sponsored a resolution that, if enacted, would add an amendment to the Constitution permanently limiting the Supreme Court to 9 justices. I am optimistic that our efforts to stop this dangerous court-packing plan will be successful so we can stop this partisan power grab and protect our nation’s institutions.
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.