Will the real Joe Biden please stand up? This seems like an all-too-familiar refrain given the massive shift to the left that the President has exhibited during his first months in office. And no issue better exemplifies Biden’s rudderless approach to national politics than the potential packing of the Supreme Court of the United States.
“It’s not my fault. My hands are tied. I’ve been forced into this.”
Biden has been dodging the issue like a weekend warrior playing paintball. At this point, it may be impossible to know what he actually believes about expanding the membership of the Supreme Court to allow Democrats to pack it with enough liberal judges to overrule the current conservative majority. “Centrist” Joe Biden is that far gone politically, clearly under the political spell or sway of the leftist insurgents who rule his party and dominate his presidency.
Still, old habits are hard to break. Although clearly moving in the direction of packing the court, the President wants to make it appear that he either has no choice; that he is doing so to be compliant to a judicial higher power that is compelling him to make this difficult decision. That is why he appointed a commission to do the dirty work for him.
Biden signed an executive order on April 9th to create the “Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States,” a decision that more or less abdicates responsibility for the court packing decision from his hands into those of an unelected body that will undoubtedly provide the liberal response that Biden and his backroom junta are anticipating. “In addition to legal and other scholars, the commissioners include former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Court, as well as advocates for the reform of democratic institutions, and of the administration of justice,” the White House stated.
‘Advocates for reform’ like Harvard Law School Professor and champion of the Russia Hoax Laurence Tribe, whose notable students include Adam Schiff, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee and lead manager for the first Impeachment of Donald Trump, and Jamie Raskin, lead manager for the second Donald Trump impeachment. Biden’s Court commission also includes President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Sherrilyn Ifill, who wrote last month that, “Just as the [former] President, members of Congress, and insurrectionists must be held accountable for their actions, the legal profession must urgently take collective stock of why so many prominent legal institutions and leaders were embroiled in supporting one of the most corrupt and destructive presidencies in our history.” It takes little imagination to predict what the outcome will be here.
The commission, which has been asked to assess the “membership and size” of the Supreme Court, will provide its recommendations within 180 days, The New York Times reported, giving President Biden with the escape route he needs to implement yet another directive in the Democratic Party’s far-left agenda to change America and to cement the ascendancy of liberal policies for the future.
Make no mistake. Despite all the fog and equivocation coming from the President, and his tortured inability to state clearly or emphatically exactly where he stands on this issue, Biden will pack the Supreme Court. It is part of the radical agenda that he is apparently sworn to promote and legislate as leader of his party.
The Court commission is just the President’s way of saying, “It’s not my fault. My hands are tied. I’ve been forced into this.”
FROM “A BONEHEAD IDEA” TO “WELL BEYOND COURT PACKING”
President Biden’s lack of clarity and consistency regarding court packing is a recent phenomenon. In the past, he has lacked neither, and was in fact quite emphatic. While testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in July 1983, he dismissed court packing as “a bonehead idea.”
He was a more conservative Democratic politician, one that said that court packing was an unsound idea that would never see reification during his presidency.
“President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the court. It was totally within his right to do that. He violated no law. He was legalistically, absolutely correct,” Biden, at 40, said to the committee. “But it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make. And it put in question, if for an entire decade, the independence of the most-significant body … in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”
This not only sounds like a different Joe Biden; it sounds like a completely different (not to mention sane) politician, one who is capable of assessing his own party’s history objectively. It does not sound like a politician who has gone mad with a desire to change the America he was born and raised in and served for 36 years as a senator.
But Joe Biden saw the world and politics very differently in those years. As early as July 2019, Biden still sounded like his old self. He was a more conservative Democratic politician, one that said that court packing was an unsound idea that would never see reification during his presidency. “No, I’m not prepared to go on and try to pack the court, because we’ll live to rue that day,” the Democratic frontrunner told the Iowa Starting Line.
By the time Biden was running for the presidency in 2020, however, he was less than precise about how he felt about adding more members to America’s highest court. For months, he and his running mate dodged the question. On September 21st, 2020, Biden was asked, by Wisconsin radio station WBAY, “If Trump’s supreme court pick goes through but you win the election, Democrats take over the Senate and maintain the House, would you consider adding more supreme court justices to the bench?” Biden answered:
“It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going answer that question. Because it will shift the focus, that’s what he wants, he never wants to talk about the issue at hand and he always tries to change the subject. Let’s say I answer that question, then the whole debate is gonna be about what Biden said or didn’t say, Biden said he would or wouldn’t. The discussion should be about why he is moving in a direction that’s totally inconsistent with what founders wanted. The Constitution says voters get to pick a president who gets to make the pick and the senate gets to decide. We’re in the middle of the election right now, you know people are voting now. By the time this supreme court hearing would be held, if they hold one, it’s estimated 30 to 40% of American people already have voted. It is a fundamental breach of constitutional principle. It must stay on that and it shouldn’t happen.”
During a campaign stop on October 8th, 2020, the former Vice President suggested that, “The moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that rather than focusing on what’s happening now. This election has begun. There’s never been a court appointment once the election has begun.” At one point, Biden actually said that voters “did not deserve” to know where he stood on court packing, but would find out soon enough after they elected him to the presidency.
A couple of days later, on October 10th, his position began to change. Biden told reporters that the GOP were the ones packing the court. Redefining the issue of court packing entirely, Biden slyly suggested that then-President Donald Trump was the one packing the court by appointing a conservative justice Amy Coney Barrett—a ludicrous comparison for anyone capable of independent analysis. “The court packing is going on now,” Biden told WKRC Local 12 in Cincinnati. “Never before, when the election has already begun and millions of votes already cast, has it ever been that a Supreme Court nominee was put forward, has never happened before. … I’ve already spoken on, I’m not a fan of court packing, but I don’t want to get off on that whole issue.”
“We should be focused on what’s happening right now; the only packing going on is this country is being packed now by the Republicans, after the vote has already begun,” Biden added. “I’m going to stay focused on it so we don’t take our eye off the ball.”
In mid-October, when responding to a court packing question during an ABC News town hall hosted by George Stephanopolous, Biden said, “I have not been a fan of court packing, because then they can just generate what happens, whoever wins just keeps moving in a way that is inconsistent with what is going to be manageable.”
A week later, his position shifted again. That was when Biden first brought up the possibility of a “bipartisan” commission to change the Supreme Court. On October 22nd, during an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Biden proposed a commission that would promulgate recommendations about “reforming” a court system that’s “getting out of whack.”
“If elected, what I will do is I’ll put together a national commission—a bipartisan commission … and I will ask them to, over 180 days, come back to me with recommendations as to how to reform the court system … it’s not about court packing,” he said. “There’s a number of alternatives that go well beyond court packing.”
MEANWHILE, DEMOCRATS MARCH FORWARD
On April 15th, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), along with Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021 to add four seats to the Supreme Court. “This bill would restore balance to the nation’s highest court after four years of norm-breaking actions by Republicans led to its current composition and greatly damaged the Court’s standing in the eyes of the American people,” the House Judiciary Committee stated.
It’s very clear what court packing is, and what the Democrats are trying to do, whether or not the President owns up to it.
Even among Democrats, enthusiasm for the measure appeared mixed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she had “no plans to bring it to the floor,” but that it was “an idea that should be considered.” Pelosi deferred to the Court commission. During her regular press briefing, meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki took a similar stance, appealing to the “bipartisan group of over 30 constitutional and legal experts who are examining a range of questions about proposed potential reforms to the Supreme Court.” “[The commission] is going to come back to the President with a report on what their discussions are and what their findings are, so he’s gonna wait for that to play out and wait to read that report,” Psaki said.
Pressed to clarify what that meant, she added: “The President believes that it’s important to take a look at a range of points of view, whether they are progressive or conservative, at different—different sets of legal opinions to—and he would like—he looks forward to assessing that himself. And I expect he will not have more to convey about any recommendations or views he’ll have until he reads that report.”
It was unclear if this was a rejection of the proposed legislation. Did President Biden approve or disapprove of Nadler’s initiative to hurry along Supreme Court packing? Consistent with Biden’s entire narrative on the issue to date, it was not exactly clear what Psaki was trying to communicate with the media or the American people—and that is exactly the way Biden wants it.
In defense of his bill, Nadler spouted the usual mendacity and outrageous claims that have characterized his career. “As our country has grown, so should the Supreme Court. 13 justices for 13 circuits is a logical progression, and that is another reason why I’m glad to join my colleagues in introducing the Judiciary Act of 2021 to establish the Supreme Court size as 13,” Nadler said. “It’s a nice number, it matches—it is not a nice number. It is a proper number that matches the number of circuits as it has historically, and it also will enable us to do justice and to rectify the great injustice done in packing the court.”
“Some people will say we’re packing the court,” Nadler continued. “We’re not packing it; we’re unpacking it.” Like Biden before him, Nadler suggested that it was those Republicans who had actually packed the court under former President Donald Trump. “Sen. McConnell and Republicans packed the court over the last couple of years as Senator Markey outlined. This is a reaction to that. It is a necessary step in the evolution of the court, and I’m glad and proud to co-sponsor it.”
But the ambiguity, equivocation, and muddling of terms should not distract us. It’s very clear what court packing is, and what the Democrats are trying to do, whether or not the President owns up to it.
As constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley explained to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, “Many of us have talked about a larger court, but this is not reforming, this is packing. When you say that you are going to dump four new members onto the court, which just happens to give liberals a working and stable majority, that is called packing. It’s raw; it’s not subtle,” Turley continued. “What’s driving this is the most extreme voices in our politics.”
THE POINT OF NO RETURN
It is useful here to return to another moment in our history when court packing was on the table: Roosevelt and his threat to pack the Supreme Court if it opposed elements of his New Deal legislation. As Andrew McCarthy recently argued in The Hill:
“[Roosevelt’s] court packing threat failed only as an ambitious artifice to alter the make-up of the judiciary. It succeeded in intimidating the Supreme Court into a retreat from its protection of economic liberty against progressive aspirations to regulate American industry. As debate raged over the failed court packing proposal, the court executed its ‘switch in time that saved nine,’ the notorious volte-face in which previously untenable regulatory regimes were suddenly green-lighted under the guise of promoting ‘the health, safety, morals and welfare of the people’—as the court put it in West Coast Hotel Company v. Parrish (1937).”
McCarthy also noted:
“To be sure, the court packing commission is not a high priority for President Biden. He is conducting this exercise because he has no real choice. Recall that, prior to the 2020 election, Biden realized he could not afford to support court packing. First, it was unpopular with voters and contradicted Biden’s claim to be a moderate ‘unifier.’ Second, he would have looked terrible had he done a 180 on court packing; as a senator, he had described FDR’s gambit as ‘a bonehead idea” and a “terrible, terrible mistake” that “put in question … the independence of the most significant body in this country,’ the Supreme Court. Moreover, Biden for decades had been a stalwart supporter of the Senate filibuster, which would need to be nuked to get court packing done.”
It might seem either convenient, absurd, or a stretch to compare Roosevelt to Biden. Roosevelt, after all, relied on legislation, not executive orders, to transform America into a welfare state. President Biden, whether by his own design or because of the manipulation of others, is also attempting to transform America: in the current image of the Democratic Party. They have the presidency, they control the legislative branches of Congress, and they are clearly lusting after the judiciary.
All of the executive orders, all of the legislation, and the flood of unchecked (even encouraged) illegal immigration—these have all been designed to change America right in front of our eyes and to cement the Democrats’ power.
Is still a piece of that old Joe Biden that feels some pangs of guilt or discomfort for what he is doing, for whom he is selling out? Or has he been a victim—willing or unwilling—of the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” those 1950s alien monsters who really represented the danger of Communist philosophy quietly and secretly undermining and subverting American society?
The answer might well be academic at this point. Biden and his handlers are working so rapidly and with such effect that they might well have produced an irreversible product by the time the midterm elections arrive in 2022. That is why his serene attempt to stand by and watch a commission order the Supreme Court being packed with liberal judges really has to be a line in the sand, a call to ideological battle, a point of no return.
This must not pass.