Liberal members of the White House’s commission to consider changes to the Supreme Court expressed frustration Friday that the draft document on expanding the number of seats does not explicitly endorse doing so.
In an online public hearing, several described the second chapter of the “discussion materials” released Thursday as biased against expanding the court — which some call “packing” the court, because Democrats want to expand the number of Supreme Court justices and fill the vacancies with liberals.
Current Democratic proposals, backed by legislation in the House of Representatives, suggest expanding the Court to add four new seats, which would mean that it would have thirteen in total. If all four of those were to be filled by liberal justices, that would create a nominal 7-6 liberal ideological majority.
Harvard Law School professor Andrew Manuel Crespo said there was an “intelligible, coherent — and, to many people, persuasive” argument that Republicans had already “packed” the Court — first by denying confirmation hearings in 2016 to Judge Merrick Garland, effectively keeping the number of Supreme Court justices at eight; second, by confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg swiftly in 2020, keeping the Court at nine justices.
House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) made a similar argument earlier this year when he declared, upon unveiling his court-packing legislation: “Some people will say we’re packing the Court. We’re unpacking it. Senator [Mitch] McConnell and Republicans packed the Court over the last couple of years … this is a reaction to that.”
Crespo challenged the idea that there was a “decades-long precedent” against expanding the court, which has had nine justices since 1869.
Noting that Congress had the constitutional authority to add seats to the Supreme Court, Crespo said that he hoped the second chapter would be revised to be more “even-handed” by including more favorable arguments for expanding the court.
The commission also discussed other possible “reform” proposals, such as term limits for Supreme Court justices.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.