The push to pack America’s federal courts has begun.
This week, Eric Holder, the Obama administration’s attorney general, called for Democrats to “use the power” they now have, with their control of both Congress and the presidency, to pack our country’s federal courts — especially the Supreme Court — with liberal judges.
Here we go
Holder remarks came on Monday during a virtual conference on judicial reform, which was hosted by the Brookings Institution.
“The Republicans have abused their power to give themselves an unfair advantage,” Holder said. “It is necessary and totally appropriate to add seats.”
Here, Holder was specifically referring to expanding the U.S. Supreme Court. Calls to do so really picked up after Donald Trump, towards the end of his presidency, filled a vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg with Amy Coney Barret.
This third Supreme Court appointment by Trump gave Republicans a decisive majority on the High Court, which is what led to calls from the left to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court. This would give Biden the opportunity to appoint enough justices to turn the balance back in the liberals’ favor.
It’s not just the Supreme Court that Democrats want to expand
The simple fact is that the Trump administration was incredibly successful at appointing federal judges. The number of appointments made by Trump and confirmed by the Senate was in the hundreds. It was a record-breaking effort.
Here, just as with the Supreme Court, the Democrats don’t have an easy way to turn the balance back in their favor. So, they are, once again, pushing court-packing.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) did so in a recent interview with MSNBC, claiming that expanding district and circuit courts is necessary because “they don’t have enough [judges].”
Difficult road ahead
The problem for those pushing court-packing is that it is not that popular of an idea. It was likely for this reason that Biden, while campaigning, dismissed it, saying instead that he would put together a commission to investigate such an idea.
Currently, there is a group of congressional Republicans who are pushing a constitutional amendment to prevent court-packing.
At the moment, it would appear that court-packing, especially for the Supreme Court, does not have sufficient congressional support.