House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seems to already have accepted defeat on a pair of radical policy proposals that have long been at the top of progressives’ wishlist.
According to a report from the Washington Examiner, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders in the House are keeping their distance from efforts to “pack” the Supreme Court and give reparations to the descendants of slaves.
The Examiner says the moves may be part of an effort to avoid forcing more moderate members of the party to take a hardline stance on these issues with just a year and a half left until midterm elections.
As it stands, Democrats currently hold just six seats more than Republicans in the U.S. House — a slim majority that could easily be overturned in 2022.
The issue of court-packing
Possibly in an attempt to avert such a result, Pelosi seems to have taken the issue of court-packing completely off the table — at least for now.
As the Examiner‘s editorial board wrote in an op-ed Friday, it was just this Thursday House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) introduced a piece of legislation that would expand the Supreme Court bench from nine justices to 13. The idea, as Democrats have admitted, is to give President Joe Biden the chance to appoint new judges and shift the ideological balance of the court back to the left.
Pelosi, for her part, was quick to shoot the proposal down, telling reporters: “I have no plans to bring it to the floor.”
Instead, the speaker has passed the ball to the Biden administration, which recently established a commission to consider potential reforms to the court — including “packing it.” Pelosi said she’ll wait for the commission to make its recommendations before moving forward.
“A presidential commission”
Maryland Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, seems to be taking a similar approach to the issue of reparations. As the Examiner notes, Hoyer said in a statement this week that it would be best for the White House, rather than Congress, to pursue the proposal.
“I would hope that the president himself would move ahead with the convening of a commission, a presidential commission, that would look at this issue and come up with suggestions as to what actions are appropriate and possible to overcome the extraordinary, extraordinary bad impact of slavery on future generations, including present generations of African Americans,” Hoyer said.
It’s not hard to see why Democrats are demuring on policy items that had long been highly sought after: midterms are on the horizon, and by and large, these proposals aren’t popular with the American public. According to polls cited by the Examiner, Americans disapprove of plans to expand the size of the Supreme Court bench by a ratio of 2 to 1, and just 1 in 5 would support providing reparations.
If Dems want to have any chance at keeping their slim upper hand in the lower chamber, they’d best continue to steer clear.