Democratic leaders are no longer pushing as hard as they once were to pack the U.S. Supreme Court, but such ploys still pose a threat to the nation’s system of government.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) made that argument in remarks this week in which he claimed that court-packing would roll back the “central feature” of the U.S. Constitution.
“Unique and very valuable”
Although the Constitution does not specify how many justices should be seated on the nation’s highest court, nine has been widely accepted as the customary number.
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, despite being an icon on the left, spoke out decisively against court-packing.
As Lee noted, Biden himself previously argued that Supreme Court justices are purposely “insulated” from the political process.
“But when you move to change the composition of the court, not because there aren’t enough personnel to handle the job but in order to change the political outcome of the decisions they make, you’re reversing the central feature in the Constitution that makes our court system unique and very valuable,” the senator added.
Amid the focus on more pressing issues like Biden’s multitrillion-dollar spending package, the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the COVID-19 pandemic, court-packing has not received as much attention in recent months.
Court-packing draws bipartisan backlash
Following a series of Supreme Court rulings that have dismayed liberals nationwide, however, there could be renewed interest in the concept.
Of course, some of those right-leaning justices have disappointed conservatives by handing down more moderate decisions than they might have hoped.
As abortion rights and other hot-button issues remain at the forefront of the nation’s cultural clash, however, leftists are increasingly searching for an opportunity to restore ideological parity to the bench.
Justices on both sides of the aisle are pushing back against advocates of court-packing. Conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett recently insisted that members of the court are not “partisan hacks” while her liberal counterpart Stephen Breyer doubled down on his earlier criticism.