BY REP. MARK GREEN (R-TENN.), OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 04/23/21 12:45 PM EDT
Ever since the Democrats lost a progressive majority on the United States Supreme Court, they have been pushing to fundamentally change the institution. In recent days, what was previously dismissed as crazy talk has gained new momentum. Not long ago, President Biden signed an executive order to form a commission that will study judicial reform, including expanding seats on the Supreme Court. And progressive Democrats in the House introduced a bill that would pack the court. We know how this story ends — with partisan, activist justices on the highest court rubber stamping progressive priorities.
Court packing has gone from a fringe idea only talked about in history classes to a mainstream political position of the Democrat Party. When originally proposed by President Roosevelt in 1937, the idea of expanding the Supreme Court was rejected by conservatives and progressives alike. President Biden himself previously denounced the idea, calling it a power-grab and a “bonehead idea.”
So why are Democrats and the Biden administration pushing to change a 152-year precedent now? Because they are looking ahead. They know that with a majority in both chambers and Joe Biden in the White House, they can pass as many progressive policies as they like — the only hiccup is a Supreme Court with a majority of justices appointed to respect the confines of the Constitution.
We cannot allow the radical left to use the Supreme Court to shove their socialist agenda on the American people. Justices of the Supreme Court are not political actors. They are legal scholars meant to interpret the law without partiality. The Democrats’ plan to add seats to the Supreme Court is a threat to that impartiality and independence of the judiciary. In response to these threats, I am reintroducing my Constitutional amendment to limit the number of justices on the Supreme Court to nine, the number it has been since 1869.
Federalist 47 describes tyranny as the accumulation of all legislative, executive, and judicial powers in the hands of one person or group. This is the left’s vision for the Supreme Court. Since the years of the Warren Court, many Democrats have held the idea that the Constitution is a living document and should change along with the “evolving standards of decency.” This is in stark contrast to the view of our Founders, who believed the Constitution was a document capable of serving the country even through inevitable change and progress.
The ideology of a living Constitution has all but turned the Supreme Court into a political instrument. The left wants to pack the court because they see this as the surest way to implement policies the majority of lawmakers and American citizens would oppose. Adding more justices that are willing to make laws rather than interpret them turns the court into a super-legislature unaccountable to the American people. This is antithetical to the separation of powers doctrine. It is tantamount to tyranny.