RAD-DEMS WANT TO PACK THE SUPREME COURT

The New York Times:

The idea recalls a move by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who hoped to push older justices to retire.

The news on Friday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, creating a vacancy that could reshape the Supreme Court for a generation, revived talk about an idea that has been bandied about for years but, until recently, not feasibly considered by people in a position to enact it: court packing.

The term is commonly associated with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who pushed legislation in 1937 that could have expanded the Supreme Court from nine to as many as 15 justices. The history is more complicated than the usual narrative suggests: Mr. Roosevelt, aiming to push older justices to step down, wanted to add a justice to the court for each sitting justice who refused to retire after 70.

More than eight decades later, the idea of expanding the court is back. In 2016, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, refused to hold a Senate vote on Merrick Garland, who was nominated to the court by President Barack Obama after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Mr. McConnell held the seat open until after the inauguration of President Trump, who nominated Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.

Mr. McConnell’s move led some Democrats, including the presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, to suggest expanding the court. They argued that Republicans had “stolen” a seat that should have been filled by Mr. Obama, and that Democrats would be justified in adding seats to shift the ideological balance back.

Republicans have called the idea radical and undemocratic, and some Democrats have feared that it could backfire. The Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., rejected the idea last year, telling Iowa Starting Line, “No, I’m not prepared to go on and try to pack the court, because we’ll live to rue that day.” He did not address the subject on Friday.

More at The New York Times


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