President Trump has made it clear that he’s intending to nominate someone to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This has caused a great deal of consternation by the people who responded with a great deal of consternation four years ago when the Senate refused to consider an outgoing president’s nomination.
The truth is, there’s nothing Democrats can do to stop it.
However, they’re talking about something that has been brought up before as a response, and that’s packing the court if/when they gain the power to do so.
Some Democrats are considering the idea of court packing—adding seats to the U.S. Supreme Court—as President Donald Trump moves quickly to fill the seat vacated with the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Constitution doesn’t specify how many judges should sit on the Supreme Court. Instead, the number is set by statute. If the Democrats gain control of the Senate after the election, they could make the change.
Not every Democrat supports the idea. Among the opponents? Oddly enough, Joe Biden.
Many candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary previously told the Washington Post that they would be open to the idea of adding justices to the court. They include current Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, a U.S. senator from California.
But Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden told the Washington Post that he is opposed to the idea. He made the same point in an interview with Iowa Starting Line last year.
“I’m not prepared to go on and try to pack the court because we’ll live to rue that day,” he said. “We add three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”
I’m about to say something I never thought I’d say: Biden is right.
I know, it’s shocking to me too, but he’s not wrong. If the Democrats pack the court, Republicans will just follow along and pack it themselves.
But packing the court would be a complete disaster for gun rights, as we can all tell. Particularly when you consider one of the plans for packing the court would call for 10 partisan justices, five from each party and then five from among the lower courts picked by the partisan justices. If the justices can’t agree on five, then there’s no quorum and they can’t hear cases.
The problem there is that in these divided times, there’s no guarantee that lack of a quorum won’t be the default for partisan justices. If the Court can’t hear cases, then a key check and balance on the legislative and executive branches is essentially gone.
With regard to gun control, that would mean any city or state can pass whatever gun laws they want knowing full well that the Supreme Court can’t hear the case. While lower courts could strike the laws down, we’re not seeing that in a lot of anti-gun areas, and that’s a problem.
So yeah, packing the court would be a disaster, at least in the short term, when it comes to gun rights.
The easiest solution to prevent it, of course, is to make damn sure as voters that they don’t get the power to do any such thing.