Court-packing would be disastrous

Court-packing would be disastrous, by Brad Polumbo.

Debate moderator Chris Wallace specifically asked Biden if he would support packing the Supreme Court. Wallace was referring to the authoritarian tactic of expanding the number of justices on the high court so a leader can fill the seats and skew the court in his or her ideological favor, turning the court into a rubber stamp.

This question is highly important because top Democrats such as Rep. Jerry Nadler and Sen. Ed Markey have openly demanded that Democrats embrace the authoritarian tactic. Yet Biden, who once said he opposed court-packing, demurred this time and repeatedly refused to answer.

“Are you willing to tell the American people tonight … whether you will support packing the court?” Wallace asked.

“Any position I take on that, that’ll become the issue,” Biden said. “The issue is the American people should speak. You should go out and vote.”

“Are you going to pack the court?” Trump interjected.

“I’m not going to answer the question,” Biden replied.

“Why won’t you answer that question?” Trump reiterated.

“Will you shut up, man?” Biden replied over Trump’s cross-talk.

Biden’s ridiculous nonanswer comes after Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris has similarly refused to distance their campaign from court-packing.

This is deeply disturbing.

Court-packing is a tactic employed by dictators, not elected officials in first-world democracies. It is a direct attack by the executive and legislative branch on the checks and balances posed by an independent judiciary, explicitly done to sway the court’s balance and turn them into rubber stamps on presidential power. …

For context, the Supreme Court has been set at nine justices since 1869. Changing this would technically be constitutional if legislation changing the number was passed through Congress and signed by the president. But it would still be an assault on judicial independence nonetheless. …

Court-packing would start a destructive spiral that would lead the nation into a constitutional crisis.

Democrats would add two justices with an eye on the short term. Then, Republicans would pack it more next time they get unified power, and then Democrats would again, and so on. Before you know, the Supreme Court would have hundreds of justices, perhaps constantly overturning precedents set less than a decade ago. It would lose any shred of legitimacy. The nation would lose a crucial check on presidential power, and the rule of law would erode without a legitimate high court to maintain it.