Many Democrats have become quite outspoken in recent years about their desire to artificially manipulate the ideological makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court by expanding it with additional liberal justices who would presumably be nominated by a Democratic president.
Now, with the Republican-appointed majority court reportedly set to strike down 1973’s Roe v. Wade abortion ruling as unconstitutional, some Democrats and activists are urging immediate action on “court-packing” as a response, the Miami Herald reported.
Renewed push to pack the high court
The Herald highlighted one particular court-packing advocate from California, Emily Blocher, a volunteer for the progressive leftist activist group Demand Justice. Blocher has previously lobbied Democratic members of Congress to expand the court, but has had little success thus far in building sufficient support for the idea.
Now, however, in light of the imminent court ruling on abortion rights, Blocher told the Herald of her mission, “I really, really, really hope that this becomes way more of an issue during everyone’s re-election for office,” and added, “I really hope this is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.”
Politico reported in early May that a draft copy of a 5-4 majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito revealed that the court would rule in favor of a restrictive Mississippi abortion law and, in doing so, would essentially overturn the pro-abortion precedents set by Roe and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito reportedly wrote in the draft opinion. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Court-packing legislation has already been introduced
That leaked opinion sparked outrage and protests among the pro-abortion left and, as the Herald noted, a renewed urgency for those who have been pushing the idea of court expansion to dilute or overrule the current conservative-leaning majority.
Legislation to that effect was already introduced last year in the Democrat-controlled House — H.R. 2584, also known as the Judiciary Act of 2021 — by progressive Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), among others.
That bill, which is currently sitting in a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, would quite simply increase the number of associate justices from eight to twelve, in addition to the chief justice, growing the total size of the bench from nine to thirteen.
Jones told the Herald, “It will increasingly become untenable for Democratic members of Congress to not support court expansion when Democratic voters are clamoring for that.”
Biden is not supportive, the special commission took no position
Of course, Republicans stand virtually united in opposition to the idea, and even some Democrats are hesitant to embrace it, including President Joe Biden, who repeatedly dodged the issue during the 2020 campaign and, once in office, delegated a decision on the matter to a special commission he established to study court expansion and other reform ideas.
Unfortunately for court-packing enthusiasts, the New York Post reported in December 2021 that Biden’s commission declined to take a position on the expansion issue and instead simply summarized the arguments for and against the proposal. Whether the court’s impending rulings or the renewed push by activists will suffice to change the president’s mind is something that remains to be seen.