Federal Courts: Why Republicans must stop Democrats
By Cash Michaels
This was the last day of the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing for Pres. Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
By all accounts, Judge Barrett, 48, is an accomplished, well-credentialed and experienced jurist who once clerked for conservative firebrand, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Judge Barrett is considered as right-wing as her old boss.
And Republicans would not have it any other way, which is why they urged Trump to immediately nominate Barrett within days of the death of liberal High Court icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month.
“She represents victory, the culmination of a generational struggle to reshape the courts in their favor,” writes NY Times columnist Jamelle Bouie.
With little doubt that the GOP will confirm Barrett to take Ginsburg’s seat by November, conservatives are giddy that, for the foreseeable future, they will have a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court - enough of a majority to finally strike down Obamacare, Roe v. Wade, and several targeted civil and voting rights provisions - issues important to African Americans.
Make no mistake, packing the U.S. Supreme Court with an abundance of conservatives to backstop and safeguard whatever legislative gains they feel they have made in the last four years under Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s primary objective.
Indeed, that’s their deal with him - as long as Trump gives them the judicial nominee’s they feel they need, they’ll do everything in their power, to keep him in power.
“The right has devised new doctrines to justify conservative rulings, flooded the courts with an expanding cadre of judges and legal scholars, financed a host of legal firms to challenge liberal laws and liberal rulings, and built a multimillion dollar network of tax-exempt groups to promote its agenda,” wrote NY Times columnist Thomas B. Edsell.
“The conservative legal revolution, which first took off in the late 1970s, caught the Democratic powers-that-be asleep at the switch.”
One of the driving forces in that “conservative legal revolution,” Edsell adds, was “resentment” over civil rights advancement.
And that is why you’re hearing so much GOP consternation about whether former Vice President Joe Biden and the Democrats will “pack” the High Court if they win the White House, and the U.S. Senate particularly.
By “packing,” they mean a “President” Biden and Democratic-led Congress deciding to arbitrarily add enough moderate to liberal-leaning justices to the Supreme Court to counter any conservative direction a 6-3 court would naturally head towards.
Thus, the Democrats - with Biden nominating and a Democratic Senate confirming, could pack as many as six new justices, bringing the total number sitting to 15, expanding the moderate to liberal justices from three to nine.
That would give Democrats a three-justice buffer that would last a lifetime, since that is the term of most appointed federal judges.
And to be clear, there is no constitutional set number of Supreme Court justices to serve at any time, so Democrats could make the court 15, 12 (if three died off), or 21 if they wanted to, and there is nothing that Republicans could do about it since they would be out of power.
This is also why Republicans are deathly afraid of Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. She naturally would succeed Biden, and is young enough, and liberal enough, to further pack the court if she saw the need in the future.
Legal experts caution against court-packing, warning that it turns the Supreme Court into an instant partisan tool. Whatever party has a court majority, gets the last partisan word on contentious constitutional cases.
But, observers counter, what is it now with a 6-3 conservative majority? Indeed, Pres. Trump loves to brag about how he will have approximately 300 confirmed appointments to the federal judiciary by the end of his first term.
And that’s because Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed the confirmation process at warp speed to fill as many federal judiciary vacancies as possible with Trump nominees.
But no….you will never hear McConnell - who, history will show, not only denied Democratic President Barack Obama’s confirmation of his last Supreme Court pick, but even slowed the confirmation process down on Obama’s judicial nominees - call what he’s doing for Trump…”packing.”