Fact Check: Will "Court Packing" Give Us Better Laws?

Will

President Trump has been lucky when it comes to the Supreme Court. Halfway into his first term, he’s already managed to get two nominees onto the bench, which goes a long way to redressing the liberal bias we’ve seen from the court in recent years. Predictably, Democrats don’t like the fact our highest court isn’t leaning their way anymore, so they’ve started making suggestions on how to “improve” it. Their latest bright idea? Increase the number of justices from 9 to 15 — and make sure the new ones are all liberals. Advocates of this plan, like the hyperactive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), claim it will make the court less political — but legal experts aren’t so sure.

Highlights

  • Packing the Supreme Court with sympathetic justices isn’t exactly a new idea. The size of the court was fixed at nine members in 1869, but in 1937 a frustrated Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to pack it with new members to get his New Deal through. His idea was to appoint a new justice for every existing one more than 70 years old. The Democrat-controlled Congress took one look at his plans and said no.
  • Now the idea has resurfaced. Many Democrats were outraged that Republicans didn’t confirm Barack Obama’s last nominee, and even more so when Brett Kavanaugh was appointed. Instead of accepting that sometimes the court will have more justices nominated by a Democratic administration and sometimes more nominated by a GOP one, they decided to get upset and demand to be in charge again.
  • The latest idea comes from — who else? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The rookie congresswoman seems to have a wildly disproportionate influence on what the Democratic Party is doing these days, and already her ideas for the Supreme Court are being picked up by other leftists — including a couple of likely candidates for next year’s presidential election.
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  • AOC wants to see the court expanded from 9 to 15 justices. Five would be Democrats, five would be Republicans and the other five would be picked by the party appointees.
  • So far, at least four runners in the 2020 Democrat race — Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg — have either openly supported this idea or said it’s worth exploring.
  • The problem is that a larger court will make it harder to reach a consensus, and far from being less politicized, AOC’s version already has a strong political element built in. The balance of power will be the five justices selected by the other ten, so competition to get the “right” ones into those seats will be fierce.
  • Far from making the Supreme Court better, court packing will just make it less efficient — and even more political — than it already is. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance it will become official Democratic policy. This is just one more reason to not vote Democrat.
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