Remember when Democratic lawmakers were threatening to pack the courts if Republicans dared to push through Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation process before the election? It seems like it was just yesterday that Chuck N’ Nancy, along with knee-high Nadler, were pounding their chests, declaring that if the Democrats manage to take back the Senate and the presidency, they would add seats to the Supreme Court.
But they have been woefully silent on the matter as of late, haven’t they?
The court-packing debate has been raging ever since Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden refused to answer reporters’ questions about whether or not he would pack the courts if he were elected. In fact, both he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), have frequently avoided the question.
Fox News put out a report noting that they have reached out to both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about the court-packing issue. According to the news outlet, “Neither a spokesman for Pelosi or Schumer responded to Fox News’ request for comment on the matter, but both have made past public statements suggesting that there was nothing congressional Democrats would rule out should they take the majority.”
This is a significant departure from their previous stance, isn’t it? Earlier this month, Schumer told MSNBC that “everything is on the table,” when it comes to following through on the court-packing threat if the GOP confirms Barrett before the election.
While Pelosi has not directly weighed in on the court-packing issue, she did urge Democrats to think about both the “short term” and the “long term” when it comes to political tactics. She also indicated that she might try to impeach the president and Attorney General William Barr to stop Barrett’s confirmation.
Biden previously criticized the idea of court-packing. But now, he is rather cagey on the issue. Recently, the former vice president went so far as to brazenly state that the American public does not deserve to know his position on the political move. When asked, he said, “I’m not gonna play his game, he’d love me to talk about, and I’ve already said something on court-packing. [Trump would] love that to be the discussion instead of what he’s doing now.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler expressed his support for court-packing last month. He said that if the GOP confirms the nominee before election day, “Congress would have to act and expanding the court would be the right place to start.”
Perhaps Democratic leaders have realized that packing the courts is not a popular proposal to the rest of the country. They might have seen the reaction to Biden’s refusal to address the question and determined that they should go a different route to achieve their political objectives. Either way, it’s clear that they will have to use another strategy if they wish to derail the confirmation hearings that began on Monday. But it’s clear that they don’t have many viable options, so it might just be a better idea to take the “L” on this one.