Sen. Warren announces support for packing the Supreme Court


Maybe she’s still feeling stung after her interaction with Elon Musk on Twitter yesterday? For some reason, Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced today that she’s ready to support packing the Supreme Court. Naturally, in order to sell that as necessary, she first has to paint the existing court as extremist and illegitimate:

This is not the first time this extremist court has threatened, or outright dismantled, fundamental rights in this country. For years, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority — recently supercharged to 6-3 — has issued decision after decision that veers away from both basic principles of law and widely held public opinion.

Over the past few years, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell hijacked America’s Supreme Court. First, in 2016, he engineered the theft of one seat, breaking from longstanding precedent by denying even a hearing to President Obama’s highly qualified nominee. Four years later, he reached new heights of hypocrisy when he reversed direction — breaking his own “rule” barring votes on justices in an election year — to ram through the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett only days before President Biden’s election.

This Republican court-packing has undermined the legitimacy of every action the current court takes. But rather than trying to restore Americans’ confidence in an independent judiciary, this court leans into extremism and partisanship.

Hijacked, engineered theft, illegitimate, partisan—the language Warren is using herer isn’t so different from the language Trump used about the outcome of the 2020 election. Will Democrats notice? Probably not. They’re all for respecting norms until they’re not.

The idea that packing the court with progressive judges is going to “restore Americans’ confidence in an independent judiciary” seems like a pretty flawed assumption to me. How does a partisan power-play to add just enough seats to bring the court under the control of progressive judges show the court to be independent? If the court is truly independent then sometimes it’s not going to decide issues as Sen. Warren would like. If on the other hand the court always sides with Sen. Warren then it’s not really independent. But she’s not done yet.

…conservative justices’ recent decisions and their apparent appetite to overturn decades of precedent underscore one important truth: This court’s lawlessness is a powerful threat to our democracy and our country.

Accusing the Supreme Court of “lawlessness” is a pretty extreme position to take, even for a committed progressive like Warren. How is this any different from saying, for instance, that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president?

Some oppose the idea of court expansion. They have argued that expansion is “court-packing,” that it would start a never-ending cycle of adding justices to the bench, and that it would undermine the court’s integrity.

They are wrong. And their concerns do not reflect the gravity of the Republican hijacking of the Supreme Court…

Rebalancing the court is a necessary step to restore its credibility as an independent institution, one that works for the American people and not just for the wealthy and the powerful.

Again, it’s very clear what she means here. The Supreme Court is illegitimate as it exists and must be rebalanced. She even suggests the only opposition to this idea is coming from Mitch McConnell, i.e. the court’s hijacker. There’s no mention of President Biden’s own bipartisan commission which did not recommend court packing when it concluded last week.

What Warren is promoting here is a judiciary coup, the kind that happens under autocratic regimes like the one in Venezuela. “Rebalancing the court” won’t restore its credibility it will create a crisis. I don’t think Warren is dumb enough to have missed that which suggests to me that a crisis, or at least the threat of one, is what she’s really hoping to create.

I really think that’s a possibility here. The very first line of her piece is this:

This month, a majority of justices on the United States Supreme Court signaled their willingness to gut one of the court’s most important decisions over the past century, threatening to eliminate Roe v. Wade and a person’s right to choose.

I don’t think Warren really believes there is support for court packing under the Biden administration, but if she can whip up enough outrage before the court’s decision on Roe, maybe she can force Chief Justice Roberts to once again side with the left to preserve the court’s legitimacy. I think that’s what this is really about.



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