by Jorge Gomez • 8 min read
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a speech during a recent trip to South America, stating that “undermining the independence of the courts” and “packing courts” were among “the ways that democracies can come undone.”
Directing what appeared to be a warning about manipulating the judiciary for political gain, Blinken added: “That’s the story of more than one democracy in our hemisphere.”
Blinken isn’t wrong. Venezuela and Argentina offer sobering lessons of how court-packing undermined democracy and destroyed the liberties of millions.
But apparently, he needs to give the same lecture to his fellow Democrats in Washington D.C.
By now, it should be no secret that the party in power and its radical allies on the far Left are the ones fanning the flames for court “reform.”
This Left-wing power grab has been clear all along, beginning with President Biden’s creation of his not exactly bipartisan commission to study the courts.
Though it portrays itself as impartial, it’s nearly impossible to give the Commission credibility in any real sense because it was formed under the presumption that the Supreme Court needs to be reformed. It was not created to answer whether “reform” was necessary. Instead, it was formed to explore how to change the Court. From its inception and throughout its meetings, the Commission has demonstrated it’s nothing more than a vehicle for Democratic and liberal court “reform” priorities.
Add to this the fact that Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) are leading the charge on Capitol Hill to stack the Court for their party’s benefit. In April, the two Democrats—along with allies Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Mondaire Jones (D-NY) as co-sponsors—introduced a bill to increase the size of the Court from nine (9) to thirteen (13) members.
Even after nationwide polling showed that a vast majority of Americans—sixty-eight percent (68%)—reject court-packing, Democrats nonetheless doubled down and introduced another court-packing bill to create more than 200 additional federal district court judgeships.
The bill states these extra judicial seats would not take effect until 2025, but keep in mind that date could be changed. And whether it goes into effect sooner or later, a couple hundred vacancies potentially would give history-changing power the next time one party controls the White House and Senate.
But the Left’s hunger for power is also evident in their reaction to several rulings from the Supreme Court’s past term, when several senators renewed their calls to pack the Court with liberal, activist justices:
While court-packing is the most pressing threat to America’s revered system of justice, other proposals loom that could strip away the authority of the courts and hand it over to party in power.
Consider the proposal to impose term limits on judges, recently recommended by Biden’s Supreme Court Commission in a series of preliminary “draft materials.” Many were surprised (especially the radical Left) that the Commission didn’t overwhelmingly favor court-packing and instead seemed more partial to term limits.
Keep in mind: Virtually every time things haven’t gone their way on the judicial front, Democrats have responded by reigniting their calls to pack the Court. However, Democrats did not appear to create their usual uproar about the Commission’s preliminary findings not satisfying their thirst for court-packing.
Why? What could explain the Left’s relative silence, even though court-packing is its ultimate goal?
Here’s one possible explanation: Term limits aren’t the big Kahuna the Left is aiming to secure, but this judicial “reform” could still accomplish its power-grab. As a result, it would be self-defeating for the Left to come out in full force and criticize term limits.
Though term limits are painted as a sensible solution, Americans must be vigilant and cautious about getting rid of life tenure for judges.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently made clear how dangerous it would be to eliminate this hallmark feature of the judicial system:
“Slapping term limits on Supreme Court justices…is no less of a radical affront to the principles on which the Court was established…Curtailing the tenure of our nation’s seniormost judges is such an obvious threat to judicial independence, it’s literally been warned about since our nation’s founding.”
As true as Blinken’s warning was about court-packing being a destructive force, Sen. McConnell also got the facts right. Alexander Hamilton didn’t mince words in Federalist 78, warning that the judiciary is:
“…in continual jeopardy of being overpowered, awed, or influenced by its co-ordinate branches; and that as nothing can contribute so much to its firmness and independence as permanency in office, this quality may therefore be justly regarded as an indispensable ingredient in its constitution.”
Make no mistake: If court-packing, term limits or any other radical judicial changes are implemented, the result would be catastrophic for our country. Indeed, the Left’s court “reform” scheme could be the gateway to tyranny, the beginning of an America where religious liberty and all other freedom are granted not by God, but are decided by the heavy hand of government.