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Ramifications of Biden's Continued Disservice on Court Packing Remain Terrifying

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Posted: Apr 09, 2021 10:30 PM
Ramifications of Biden's Continued Disservice on Court Packing Remain Terrifying

Source: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

There's been lots of news on the U.S. Supreme Court today. As Reagan and I covered, the "far-left" group Demand Justice is certainly living up to its name by demanding Justice Stephen Breyer, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, retire. Within hours, President Joe Biden announced a commission to study court packing and other so-called "reforms." 

To cite Reagan's reporting

President Joe Biden officially established a commission to study “reforms” to the Supreme Court, including potential court packing. The administration said that the bipartisan commission of experts will "hold public meetings to hear the views of other experts, and groups and interested individuals with varied perspectives on the issues it will be examining."

Republicans have held firm opposition to expanding the size of the Supreme Court, which is an overtly political suggestion by Democrats. Liberal justices on the high court, including the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also opposed the idea of adding justices to the bench.  

If the potential consequences don't make you the least bit anxious, you're not giving it enough thought. 

It's concerning enough that President Biden announced this commission. I have a feeling it's just a way for Biden to delay what will inevitably be him coming out in favor of a way for Democrats to punish Republicans by politicizing the Court. 

What's also concerning is that President Biden continues to do a disservice to the American people when he won't commit to a straight answer on whether or not he is in favor of court packing. 

Speaking of those straight answers, or lack thereof, the president also can't answer what "diplomacy" means on North Korea, whether the United States will boycott the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, or just how committed he is to getting rid of the filibuster, this apparently "Jim Crow relic."

I'm not too fond of playing will he or won't he when it comes to what our president will do or say about such key issues. 

Michael D. Shear and Carl Hulse's reporting on the issue for The New York Times in their piece "Biden Creating Commission to Study Expanding the Supreme Court," is actually quite illuminating: 

In a statement to be released Friday, the White House said the commission would examine “the genesis of the reform debate and the court’s role in the constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the court; the membership and size of the court; and the court’s case selection, rules, and practices.”

The closing provides insight as well: 

In his [executive] order, Mr. Biden instructed the commission to hold public hearings on the issue and to accept testimony and submissions from other legal experts, organizations and members of the public who want to weigh in.

Among the questions that he wants answered: How should the strengths and weaknesses of proposals to expand the court be evaluated? Would expansion require other reforms, such as the creation of a panel system for sittings? How does the history of efforts to expand or contract the size of the court bear on the questions being debated?

The piece emphasizes a perceived lack of authority when it comes to the commission:

It is not clear that the commission established by Mr. Biden will by itself clarify his position. Under the White House order establishing it, the commission is not set to issue specific recommendations at the end of its study — an outcome that is likely to disappoint activists. 

...

Activists who say a larger court would give Mr. Biden the chance to appoint a number of liberal justices may be disappointed by his commission. People familiar with its charge from the president said the group will avoid making any recommendations to Mr. Biden or lawmakers.

Instead, the panel of scholars, lawyers, political scientists and former judges will produce a research paper designed to be an authoritative analysis of the issue. The goal, the people said, is not to settle on an answer, but to provide Mr. Biden, members of Congress and the public an evaluation of the risks and benefits of making changes to the court.

I'll keep reminding you that we really can't hold our breath on this one, though. I was dumbfounded that candidate Biden would not let the American people know where he stood when it comes to one of the branches of government, that he would let voters and ultimately constituents down in such a way. He's only continued to worry me, though, especially when he refuses to do so now that he's been elected president. 

I'm more so focused on the piece's subheadline. "The commission will also examine other potential changes such as term limits for justices. Progressives are pushing President Biden to add seats to balance the court’s conservative majority," it reads with added emphasis. 

With more added emphasis:

During his campaign for president, activists urged Mr. Biden to promise that he would expand the court as a way of countering the conservative mark that Mr. Trump was able to put on the institution. In addition to Justice Barrett, Mr. Trump also appointed Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Neil M. Gorsuch.

“There’s growing recognition that the Supreme Court poses a danger to the health and well-being of the nation and even to democracy itself,” said Aaron Belkin, the director of the group Take Back the Court. “A White House judicial reform commission has a historic opportunity to explain the gravity of the threat and to help contain it by urging Congress to add seats, which is the only way to restore balance to the court.”

That's not how this works. 

Aaron Belkin has it wrong in more ways than one here. One definition of "contain" the Court would be to leave it as it is, with nine justices serving. Republican and Democratic-appointed justices alike agree, including poor Justice Breyer. I never thought I'd sympathize with that man so much. 

Most important of all, a president has the constitutional right – the duty, actually – to nominate judges and justices, while the U.S. Senate has the role of advice and consent. Some may scream about Judge Merrick Garland – who is now attorney general, so I'm sure he'll be just fine – but the Senate acted on its role to advise and consent as well when the Republican-controlled Senate happened to be a different party from President Barack Obama. 

I shouldn't have to explain Constitutional law to these people, but apparently, I have to, so here we are. 

President Donald Trump happened to have three vacancies on the Supreme Court to fill. If voters like Belkin didn't like that, then they should have done more to ensure that the man wasn't elected president. The American people don't deserve to suffer because Belkin and others don't like that Trump was elected, and elections have consequences. 

Not enough people were paying attention to the 2020 election. Now, you could argue that it wasn't their fault with how candidate and now-President Biden can't or won't bring himself to putting together a complete sentence on it, or even a "yes" or "no." But these people better be paying attention come 2022 and 2024 especially. It may be too late if they're not, assuming it's not too late already.