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Tipsheet

Abandon Ship: Dems Going Wobbly on Norms-Shattering Court Packing Scheme?

Why, it's only a terrible, republic-destabilizing, radical scheme that's strongly opposed by voters so strongly that fewer than one-in-five independents approve of it.  Why wouldn't Democrats want to dive headlong into that debate, especially when they clearly don't have the votes to even come close to passing it?  Chuck Schumer warned that "everything" would be "on the table" under a Democratic majority, but it looks like some of his rank-and-file members are awfully nervous about this issue.  As we noted recently, in addition to being wildly unpopular, court-packing is a powerfully unifying issue for Republicans and a divisive one among Democrats, whose base is hungry for the power grab.  John McCormack of National Review has been asking Democratic Senators what they think of court expansion, and quite a few of them seem...decidedly cool to even discussing it:

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“I’m not persuaded yet, but, you know, we’ll just have to see,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.). His fellow Virginian, Senator Mark Warner, said the Court-packing bill is “not where I’m headed.” Senator Jon Ossoff (D., Ga.) said of Markey’s bill: “It’s not something I’m currently advocating for.” “It’s not my issue for today,” said Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “I’ll take a look at it, but it’s not something that I’ve been pushing for,” said Senator Gary Peters (D., Mich.) … “I don’t support that,” New Hampshire senator Jeanne Shaheen said of Markey’s bill. Asked if any Supreme Court rulings could get her to support it, Shaheen replied: “I can’t speculate on that.”

Quite a few empty dodges.  What should worry conservatives, of course, is that any or all of these Democrats punting on the issue as not a 'top priority' or whatever could very easily turn around and line up to ram court-packing through if they expand their majority in the future. Recall that most Senate Democrats were on the record, in writing, as outright opposed to touching the legislative filibuster during the Trump years -- then almost all of them flip-flopped the moment it was expedient to do so. I wouldn't count on many Democrats to stand against a norms-destroying escalation if they have the votes to execute it and get their way, even temporarily.  Someone who desperately wants voters to think that he would hold the line is Arizona's Mark Kelly, who faces re-election next year.  Kelly has been a partisan Democrat during his brief tenure in office thus far, but he's evidently anxious about how this issue might move votes in his purple state.  And thus, a claimed commitment:

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The operating assumption of every Republican or independent voter should be that the nanosecond Democrats believe they have the votes to pack the Court, they'll try to do it.  Don't count on progressives to say "we can, but we shouldn't."  Speaking of which, every House Democrat -- including the 'moderates' -- just voted to make Washington DC a state.  The purpose is not representation or good governance.  It's about one thing only.  Power:


They could just propose enveloping most DC voters into Virginia or Maryland, which would solve the alleged "representation" concerns (setting aside the constitutional issue of DC statehood, which proponents often and tellingly overlook), but that's not good enough.  Because the point is to add two blue Senate seats.  Period.  I'll leave you with an easy rejoinder to the latest dumb SCOTUS "controversy" involving Justice Amy Coney Barrett:

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