Editorial | Expand the Supreme Court and overturn Court-Packer McConnell’s legacy

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks before U.S. Senate votes on the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett in Washington
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the nation’s leading court-packer.
U.S. Senate TV/Handout via REUTERS.

There are 107 reasons why Joe Biden and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate should expand the Supreme Court if they win the White House and control of Congress next week.

And Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans can thank themselves for providing those 107 reasons over their past six years of court-packing.

The first 105 reasons represent the number of federal judicial nominations that President Barack Obama made between 2015 and 2017 that McConnell and his fellow Republicans deliberately blocked. President Trump filled those seats instead, and McConnell and his fellow court-packing Republicans were happy to confirm them.

The 106th reason is Merrick Garland, the federal judge whom Obama nominated to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat in the spring of 2016 — only to be completely ignored and obstructed by McConnell and his fellow Republicans. Again, Trump filled that vacancy with Neil Gorsuch, and the court-packing Republicans were happy to confirm him.

And, of course, the 107th reason is Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s hand-picked Supreme Court rubber stamp that court-packing McConnell and Senate Republicans rushed to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat just eight days shy of Election Day — a pandemic and their own blatant hypocrisy be damned.

McConnell and Senate Republicans, as Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz said on the Senate floor this week, turned the so-called “world’s greatest deliberative body” into a judge-making joke where nothing else of consequence to the American people gets done.

McConnell and Senate Republicans packed the court — plain and simple. 

And let none of them get mad when Democrats look to expand the court next year. They brought this on themselves.

But this is more than just avenging the Republicans’ injustice. This is about restoring balance to the judicial branch, which is designed to be co-equal to the executive and legislative branches of our government.

We do not have that balance when a conservative, activist, appointed bench can overturn any law or executive order, created by lawmakers elected by the people, at a whim for reasons that have nothing to do with Constitutionality. 

The new Supreme Court is an unnatural affront to the republic — and it would be that way if the shoe were on the other foot and the 6-3 majority were made up of liberals.

Should they win next week, Biden and Congressional Democrats must act fast in the first 100 days in power to right the Republican wrongs over the last six years, and remake the Supreme Court into an independent arbiter of the Constitution once more.

And if McConnell and Republicans don’t like it — tough.