After dusting off a year-old piece of legislation, members of the Democrat-controlled Congress held a press conference Monday to renew their radical push for court-packing declaring, “We were in control, let’s act like it.”
In April 2021, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) introduced the Judiciary Act of 2021, setting out to make one change to Section 1 of title 28, United States Code. Instead of accounting for eight associate justices in addition to the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Johnson and his co-sponsors, N.Y. Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler and Mondaire Jones sought to expand the court to a total of 13 justices.
With the support of the progressive Take Back the Court Action Fund and ready-made signs pulled out of storage, Johnson was flanked by other left-wing ideologues as he attempted to twist the meaning of “packing” to include the process of filling vacancies on the bench.
He alleged, “#Republicans have been packing the #SCOTUS with radicals willing to destroy its own legitimacy with hyper-partisan decisions that are burning down decades of precedent and progress in this country. I introduced the #JudiciaryAct because the time to #ExpandtheCourt is now!”
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) July 18, 2022
This narrative was embraced by Democratic Reps. Mark Takano (CA), Andy Levin (MI), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX) and Jones who were joined by Sen. Ed Markey (MA) and activists in their reactionary attempt to work up their base after years of subverting the Constitution and finally put in check by the Supreme Court, namely through the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Jones called this out, saying, “The nightmare scenario of GOP court-packing is already upon us. That’s how they got this far-right 6-3 majority in the first place,” as he rehashed the failed appointment of now-attorney general Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court before then-candidate Donald Trump was elected president.
Jones: To my colleagues who say that if we expand the court, Republicans may do it back at some time in the future… understand that the nightmare scenario of GOP court packing is already upon us. That’s how they got this far-right 6-3 majority in the first place. pic.twitter.com/d4MoXkjH7f
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 18, 2022
As The Hill pointed out, the bill likely could not surpass the 60-vote threshold in the Senate to overcome the filibuster, but that didn’t stop the lawmakers from demonizing decisions on Miranda rights, gun control, and religion in schools. As Johnson claimed of Justice Samuel Alito who wrote the majority opinion for the decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that ended Roe, “You can see the gleam in his eye as he thinks about what he wants to do to decimate the rights of the people and put us back in the Dark Ages.”
Markey, who had also promoted the initial introduction of the Judiciary Act of 2021 argued, “As each decision is made by this Supreme Court, there is going to be a mounting public outcry that is going to be matched by House and Senate support, and I think ultimately it’s going to become very clear that this law must pass. The court must be expanded.”
.@SenMarkey: "As each decision is made by this Supreme Court, there is going to be a mounting public outcry that is going to be matched by House and Senate support, and I think ultimately it's going to become very clear that this law [expanding the Supreme Court] must pass." pic.twitter.com/BhmV30X5Nq
— The Hill (@thehill) July 18, 2022
However, some of the most incendiary language came from Tlaib who referred to the conservative justices as “unhinged” as she ramped up the rhetoric and claimed they are “literally telling women they have no control over their bodies. They’re telling communities like mine they don’t have a right to breathe clean air, that profits come before them and their public health and their lives. So again it is so important that we move with urgency. My residents, I know, many of our residents, they don’t have another day, another year, another term, another election to wait for transformative change. This is our time. We were in control, let’s act like it.”
Rep. @RashidaTlaib: "We're going to stand here with the folks that […] believe in what we're trying to do, which is expand the court. […] Right now, six unhinged, unelected Supreme Court Justice[s] [are] literally telling women they have no control over their bodies." pic.twitter.com/oAznJQTovf
— The Hill (@thehill) July 18, 2022
With the legislative and executive branches currently controlled by Democrats, the additional four seats would give them the exact number of appointments needed to change the balance from a 6-3 “conservative” majority to a 7-6 progressive court.
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