Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey and three House Democrats announced their plan to expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 13 Justices this week. They were careful to couch their bald power grab in media-friendly terms, sputtering their concern for the “Court’s legitimacy” and insisting they were not packing the Court, they were “unpacking” it. Orwell had today’s Democrats in mind when he wrote “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Hardly a day goes by where they aren’t caught trying to change the very definition of words to suit their political needs.
The plan, notwithstanding media hype, is DOA. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she had “no plans” to bring it to a vote. Associate Justice Breyer, one of the stalwart liberals on the Court, warned against expanding the Court as well. And with the late revered-by-progressives Justice Ruth Ginsberg – whose opinion, you might think, would matter to leftists on Court matters, of all things – on the record as against the idea, there’s little pressure on Senators Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema to fall in line. The Democrats don’t have the votes.
Which isn’t the point anyway. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer didn’t expect to win votes with the charisma-deficient Markey leading the charge. Instead, the whole announcement was about something else entirely.
Like everything else the Democrats do with respect to the Court, this was all about abortion.
The Democrats are terrified that Republicans might actually have the votes to seriously curtail, if not outright overturn, Planned Parenthood v. Casey (and Roe v. Wade by extension). Which would throw the issue of abortion back to the state legislatures.
So the Democrats are simply attempting to warn the Court what might happen if they do.
Did I mention Markey’s announcement came two weeks after the Supreme Court agreed to hear their first abortion case since Associate Justice Amy Barrett gave conservatives a 6-3 seeming majority?
There was similar noise back in 2012, prior to the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare. And with his decision to uphold President Obamas signature law, Chief Justice Roberts proved to the Left he could be intimidated.
Can Kavanaugh? Gorsuch? Barrett?
We may soon find out.