Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Here's a CNN report on Democratic strategy for the upcoming Supremne Court fight and the future of the Court:
increasingly, Democrats are trying to steer clear of talk that they would change the makeup of the Supreme Court by adding seats to it if they take the Senate majority this fall, with some arguing that gives the GOP ammunition in the battle for control of the chamber.

"I'm not for retaliatory moves," said Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, the Democrats' most vulnerable senator this cycle, pushing back on calls to add seats to the court. He wouldn't say if he would oppose a Trump pick no matter what.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, who also faces voters in November, said: "No" when asked if she backs adding more seats to the court if Democrats take the majority.

"I think the important thing right now is that people need to make our Republican colleagues and the Trump administration aware ... if they believe, as I do, that they should let the election go forward and the next president, whoever that is, nominate the nominee to the Supreme Court," Shaheen said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and progressive firebrand, sidestepped questions when asked if she favored adding seats to the Supreme Court.

"We need to talk about what's at stake now: What's at stake in the lives of millions and millions of families," Warren said Tuesday.
It doesn't matter. Republicans already have their talking points now that the subject has been raised. Here's Marc Thiessen of The Washington Post:
Even before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the left was never going to be content with simply replacing liberal justices, because that would not change the ideological makeup of the court. They intend to follow through on their threats to “restructure” the court by adding justices to install a liberal majority. But they won’t stop there. They will also pack the federal circuit courts of appeal, neutralizing all of Trump’s judicial appointments and restoring liberal majorities.
So what do we have? We have Republicans describing any effort to add seats to the Supreme Court or lower courts as tyranny. And we have Democratic senators describing it as ... either a bad idea or one they really, really don't want to talk about.

If Republicans say this as a bad idea and Democrats say this is a bad idea, what are voters who haven't really thought about the issue supposed to think?

Republicans don't act this way. They don't acknowledge objections to their hardball tactics, except in a very limited way. Only a handful of Republicans have questioned Mitch McConnell's plan to ram through a Court nominee this year -- everyone else in the party is talking about it as if it's the only reasonable course of action. The same was true four years ago: Republicans didn't tell reporters that stonewalling Merrick Garland was a bad idea. They just did it, and said that was the only reasonable course of action.

Maybe Democrats don't really want to pack the Court. But if they're considering it, they'll appear more reasonable if they describe Court-packing as constitutional (the number of justices on the Court isn't fixed in the Constitution) and as having historical precedent:
The number of Justices on the Supreme Court changed six times before settling at the present total of nine in 1869.
They could also remind voters that four of the nine justices on the Court were named by presidents who reached the White House after losing the popular vote, and Trump's upcoming pick would be number five.

Democrats would be better at playing hardball if they weren't so guilt-ridden about it.

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