Biden Takes First Step Toward Packing Supreme Court

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

As it stands, the Senate can block new anti-Second Amendment legislation from passing. However, as things currently stand, gaining back our rights simply isn’t going to happen without the courts.

That means we need the Supreme Court.

Right now, the Court has a makeup that is favorable to our side, for the most part. It won’t always be that way, but it is for now. That’s good. However, the Biden administration took its first step to change that on Thursday.

President Joe Biden’s commission established to study possible reforms to the Supreme Court will issue “draft preliminary discussion materials” on Thursday in what could be a major win for advocates of court packing.

The 36-person commission was established by the president amid criticism of the court from progressive Democrats and calls for new justices to be added due to the current 6-3 conservative majority.

Many Democrats were outraged when Senate Republicans refused to hold hearings for former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016 and what they viewed as a rushed confirmation for Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett in 2020.

A group of Democratic lawmakers led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Representative Jerry Nadler of New York introduced a bill earlier this year that would expand the number of justices from the current nine to 13.

The legislation is unlikely to succeed at present given the evenly divided Senate and reluctance on the part of many Democrats.

Biden has previously criticized the idea of adding justices to the court—a concept often referred to as court packing—but preliminary materials due from the presidential commission could potentially outline a path to expand the court as well as other possible reforms.

The decision to set up the commission was essentially a compromise with Democrats who want to see the court expanded and the commission’s findings on that question are hotly anticipated.

The upside to this is that there’s no chance of anything happening other than a commission being formed. As noted, the Senate is evenly divided and even a number of Democrats are hesitant about packing the Supreme Court.

After all, they won’t always be in power. What happens when a GOP majority takes Congress and a Republican sits in the White House? Will they raise the number of justices to 15? The packing could easily continue until things get good and ridiculous.

“But Trump and Republicans and Garland and Barrett!”

Look, Obama nominated Garland right before he left office. It was the end of his second term. No matter what, he wasn’t coming back in January. Arguing that a nomination should be left for the new president wasn’t out of line. Remember, every poll told us Hillary Clinton was going to win, so it wasn’t like McConnell and company was expecting a Republican to fill the vacancy.

With Barrett, though, Trump was eligible for a second term.

It was actually a very different situation.

As for this court-packing idea, though, it’s a horrible idea. My hope is that the commission’s finding boils down to some variation of “you really don’t want to start this particular war,” but I’m skeptical. After all, this commission is really just there to present ideas Democrats already want to do, they just want some kind of cover.

Meanwhile, we have the midterms coming up in a year, and as things currently stand, Democrats aren’t looking at coming out too cleanly on the other side. Expect Congress to swing Republican unless something drastic happens before now and then.

So basically, this commission had better come up with something quick or their findings will fall under “thank you for your input, allow me to file it in this circular filing cabinet beside my desk.”

Which would really be for the best, if we’re being honest.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET