With the Supreme Court’s recent decision to hear the Mississippi abortion law case, some Democrats are, again, pushing to pack or to make changes to the most powerful judicial body in the country. This latest push is solely based on their concern that the Supreme Court might enter a ruling that would somehow impact/change its prior holding in the case of Roe v. Wade.
In essence, some Democrats have recently argued that if the Supreme Court strikes a blow against Roe v Wade by upholding the Mississippi abortion law, this will re-ignite the left’s push to pack the court or to reform the court in some other manner. According to Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.):
“It will inevitably fuel and drive an effort to expand the Supreme Court if this activist majority betrays fundamental Constitutional principles.”
“Chipping away at Roe v. Wade will precipitate a seismic movement to reform the Supreme Court. It may not be expanding the Supreme Court, it may be making changes to its jurisdiction, or requiring a certain numbers of votes to strike down certain past precedents.”
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) also politicized this matter, stating, “It really enlivens the concerns that we have about the extent to which right-wing billionaire money has influenced the makeup of the court and may even be pulling strings at the court.”
In essence, what Democrats are proposing amounts to nothing less than an effort to sabotage the nation’s highest court and to make the court an extension of the Democratic-controlled Congress. In doing so, Democrats will erode the system of checks and balances, as well as the independence of, the various branches of government merely because they are afraid of how the Supreme Court might ultimately rule. James Madison discussed this in detail in Federalist No. 78.
In 1833, Former Supreme Court justice Joseph Story recognized the dangers of judicial activism and stated, “The danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion … but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.”
What Democrats appear to be saying here is that packing or changing the Supreme Court is permissible to prevent the court from potentially ruling in a manner that they oppose. The dangers with this approach are self-evident, and include such things as a continued tit-for-tat between Republicans and Democrats, depending on who is in power, the erosion/elimination of separation of powers, and, most importantly, the loss of judicial independence. The Supreme Court (and all courts, for that matter) must be independent, and must issue rulings based on the law. It is frightening to consider what would happen if the party in power was simply able to add justices or somehow change the Supreme Court simply because it was concerned about how the court might rule on a particular matter. This would “politicize” the court, which Democrats allegedly oppose, and which is not the purpose of the judiciary.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and is there to make important landmark decisions based on the law.
The Supreme Court should not be touched. It is not a puppet for the Democratic-controlled Congress to play around with. Short of confirming a justice when a vacancy occurs, or performing any other constitutionally permitted function(s), neither branch of government should control the strings to the nation’s highest court.
The Supreme Court should not undergo any changes, and the number of justices should remain the same, as has been the case for the past 150 years.