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Increasing Supreme Court from 9 to 11
Let’s be clear here from the outset. The modern-day Republican party is not only now held hostage to the whims of an ex-reality TV show star President with an extreme aversion to his tax affairs ever becoming public, but the GOP now politically weaponizes as much of the apparatus of government as it can.
Nowhere has that been more apparent than with the Supreme Court in the last five years or so, being especially amplified with the arrival of Trump in the Oval Office. Of course, the reality is that the Supreme Court has always had a political dimension to it – with the prevailing President of the day having the “luxury” of appointing liberal or conservative leaning justices, subject to their own particular whims.
However, this is certainly the Age of Trump and to a lesser degree that of McConnell – so all Supreme Court bets are now off. Previous precedents seemingly no longer matter. Jurisprudence is now subservient to rampant partisan political urges.
Take McConnell’s recent sickening display of hypocrisy when asked if he would look to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2020 (a Presidential election year), if one became available. With a smirk of arrogance that only McConnell can display, he confirmed that he would indeed do just that.
Of course, back in 2016, McConnell had argued the absolute opposite – that in a Presidential election year, a President’s pick for a Supreme Court vacancy should not happen until the election had come and gone. Cue McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland throughout 2016. McConnell wouldn’t even meet with Garland.
And don’t forget Trump’s subsequent focus on getting “his man” Brett “I like beer” Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court bench in Garland’s place.
At times you have to wonder if the DNC rolled over prostrate before McConnell and Trump and quietly said “do your worst.”
This level of Republican / conservative manipulation of the Supreme Court represents an existential threat to the Constitutional system of the US in the future. Even with the Presidency and Congress in Democratic hands in coming years, the Supreme Court is set for a conservative ascendency for decades to come. That is a clear and present threat to recent progress that has been made in any number of aspects of American life – gay rights, abortion, same sex marriage, workers’ rights and so on.
Consequently, the progressive electoral will of the American people (and that should never be underestimated) is now at the mercy of a minority-inspired conservative Supreme Court that could very well strike down either pre-existing or forthcoming progressive legislation irrespective of the genuine will of the electorate.
As mentioned, the gloves are now off when it comes to the Supreme Court. Trump’s dog-whistle Republicans, headed up in Congress by the shame and shambles of a person that is Mitch McConnell, have effectively launched an all-out war on our Constitution, with the Supreme Court at the fore of their machinations.
That’s because they know all too well that Trump will one day, thankfully, be a cringe-worthy bad memory. And yes, Presidents come and Presidents go. But Supreme Court’s don’t work that way – they linger, for a long, long time. Generations even.
And that’s why the Supreme Court needs the number of justices to be raised from 9 to 11 so as to counter-act this brazen display of Republican perfidiousness when it comes to the ultimate interpretation of justice in the US. Such a proposal represents a legitimate effort to swing the political pendulum back from the conservative / regressive movement that presently holds the Supreme Court in its grasp.
And here’s the thing. The number of Supreme Court justices is not set in stone at just nine. There is actually no Constitutionally defined number that it should be set at. All it would take is an act of Congress to implement the change.
Such an idea is in very good company too. President Franklin Roosevelt, when pushing for his progressive New Deal in the 1930s (after years of Republican economic mismanagement – sounds familiar right?) came up against conservative Supreme Court resistance, ruling key parts of his legislation to be unconstitutional.
Roosevelt’s plan? To “pack the Supreme Court” and increase the number of sitting justices to counter the conservative dominance of the bench. While that never actually materialized (as two justices effectively moved from their conservative opposition of the New Deal to being in favor of it), it undoubtedly set a standard for future similar action.
The Presidential election of 2020 is of course a huge crossroads moment in the history of the US. Undoubtedly, four more years of Trump could irreversibly alter the US beyond recognition. However, the real kicker, the real sting in the Republican tail? A Supreme Court that thwarts progressive legislation for generations to come, irrespective if the Oval Office occupant. We simply cannot allow that to happen.
Consequently, it is time for the number of justices on the Supreme Court to be raised from 9 to 11 and push back against the long-term conservative agenda that the likes of McConnell have salivated about for years up until this point in time.