When President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in their first debate, Biden was asked if he would pack the Supreme Court. Vice President Mike Pence echoed this question in his vice presidential debate with Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.
While adding seats to the Supreme Court has been a topic of political discussion in the past, the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spotlighted the conversation now more than ever. If filled by a conservative judge, Ginsburg’s vacant seat would tilt the conservative majority even farther to the right.
Our founding fathers intended for the Supreme Court to function as an apolitical, independent body. This was a logical decision for the writers of the Constitution — a profoundly partisan Supreme Court ignores the values of democracy.
Currently, Republicans comprise the smallest percent of registered voters in the United States. Fewer Republicans are registered to vote than independents.
Though judges will always rule with some bias, a Supreme Court where only three of the nine Justices are liberal will not make decisions that accurately represent their constituency. The court will become skewed too far right.
The Constitution’s writers, precise and thoughtful, wrote no mandate that there be nine residing justices on the Supreme Court. The Constitution grants Congress full liberty to alter the number of sitting justices. As our founding fathers intended, adding more seats to the Supreme Court would force our judicial branch to be less partisan and more democratic.
That said, the Republican politicians currently in power have misrepresented court expansion as a political sin. This proves their hypocrisy.
Republicans altered the Court’s leaning in 2016 by refusing to give Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, — a judge as or more qualified than Judge Amy Coney Barrett — a committee hearing. Instead, they reduced the number of seats on the Supreme Court from nine to eight.
Republicans left one seat vacant for nearly a year.
Yet now, they’re rushing Trump’s nominee through the Supreme Court’s confirmation process. Many voters have already cast their ballots in an election that the Republican Party, according to polls, is currently losing by a wide margin.
These steps taken by the Republican Party were politically immoral abuses of power. They are the reason Americans may possibly confront the realities of a heavily biased and unjust Supreme Court for generations to come.
Packing the Supreme Court will restore its ideological equilibrium. Not only will this re-establish balance, but it will reinstate the Supreme Court’s apolitical function as a separate branch of government. The only just action for Democrats to make, if they assume power, is to expand the Supreme Court.