When spoiled toddlers lose a game, they often try to change the rules or otherwise throw a tantrum. That’s how former President Donald Trump handled losing the 2020 election. And it’s evidently how top progressive members of Congress — who endlessly criticize Trump — are handling a slew of recent defeats at the Supreme Court .
The conservative-majority Supreme Court recently ruled against racial discrimination in college admissions, against President Joe Biden’s attempt to twist the law to spend $430 billion on a student loan bailout against Congress’s wishes, and against LGBT activists in a free speech case.
Progressive Democrats are not taking these decisions well. Indeed, they’re responding by effectively calling to destroy the Supreme Court as we know it. “The Supreme Court is corrupt and continues to fail the people of this country,” far-Left Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-MO) tweeted. “Expand the court.”
“With this Court demonstrating time & again its contempt for the people, every option must be on the table … expand the Court … Our lives & our democracy depend on it,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) added.
“People don’t have to live under constant fear of the Supreme Court,” Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) concurred. “We can’t sit on our hands while these justices carry out the bidding of right-wing organizations. Expand the Court.” Even activist groups like Planned Parenthood got in on the “expand the court” clamor.
What’s this all about?
“Expand the court” is a euphemism for packing the Supreme Court. Packing the courts is a tactic, most often employed by dictators in authoritarian regimes, where courts are rendered irrelevant because they are expanded and filled with cronies who are deferential to the government they’re supposed to be a check on.
The U.S. Supreme Court has had only 9 justices since 1869. However, the number of justices on the high court isn’t formally established by the Constitution. So, Congress could theoretically pass legislation adding more justices to the court and, assuming the president signed that legislation, give the president the opportunity to nominate more justices and skew the Supreme Court in their favor. In the short term, this might mean that more of the president’s agenda gets upheld, even if it’s not actually in line with the Constitution. But in the long term, it would mean the end of the Supreme Court as we know it.
Democrats “expanding” — aka packing — the Supreme Court would lead Republicans to expand it again to rebalance it once they took power. Then Democrats would do it again in response, and so on, leading to a vicious cycle where before you know it, the Supreme Court would have 500 members, none of whom would be viewed as legitimate. The court would become a complete joke.
It has no actual enforcement power, so once the Supreme Court lost its legitimacy, it’d only be a matter of time before government officials stopped complying with its rulings. And boom: We no longer have a third branch of government in any meaningful sense. We’d be reduced to simply hoping that presidents and Congress follow the Constitution, and be left without recourse when they don’t.
Make no mistake: that’s what Democrats are advocating for when they call to “expand” the Supreme Court. It’s an incredibly dangerous idea that would put us on the slipperiest of slopes.
Thankfully, so far, Biden is rejecting these calls coming from within his party. Americans of all political persuasions should hope he maintains this position. If the president caves to extremist Democrats and engages in court-packing, it won’t be long before our system of government becomes something unrecognizable.