Ginsburg Warned Court Packing Was a “Bad Idea” — Here’s Why
Now more than ever we need the Democrats to be the adults in the room.
You know there is something profoundly wrong with the Supreme Court appointment process when the dying wish of an 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice is “not to be replaced until a new president is installed.”
One thing is clear: the last thing an already dangerously polarized country needs is an equally polarized Supreme Court. If anything, we need the exact opposite.
Obviously the Republicans haven’t gotten the message, though, with their refusal to give Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland a hearing in 2016, and their nominations of the highly conservative Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and now Amy Coney Barrett.
But neither have the Democrats. Viewing a conservative Court as a threat to the realization of their agenda, they are openly discussing adding seats to the Court—aka court-packing—should they capture the White House and the Senate, an ill-advised move that would turn the last independent branch of government into a political tool.
It’s very disappointing, really. Because now more than ever we need the Democrats to be the adults in the room. And igniting a Supreme Court arms race, destroying the Court’s independence just because the Republicans stole a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, would be a very childish, irresponsible thing to do; not to mention dangerous.
Why court-packing is such a terrible idea
Aside from the fact that court-packing would basically turn the Court into a rubber stamp for the ruling party, the most obvious reason is that there is no end to it. As Bernie Sanders told The New York Times last year: “Packing the courts is a great idea when you’re in power, not such a great idea when your political opponents are in power.” (More recently he has sidestepped the issue, though. I wonder why.)
The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was also against court-packing, calling President Franklin Roosevelt’s plan to pack the court “a bad idea” in an NPR interview a little over a year before her death.