‘To say that Democrats shouldn’t unsteal the courts because we’re worried about the normative context, I think, is to ignore the very normative context that we’re already in…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) For decades, Democrats—in the absence of legislative majorities—have relied on the judiciary, not only to check and balance the power of elected officials, but often to perform or override the functions of other branches.
But with two new conservative Supreme Court justices and a Republican Senate majority to help streamline future judicial appointments, the Left now faces the likelihood that Trump-appointed jurists will quickly turn the tables on them.
Their best hope? Invalidate the courts.
The Huffington Post on Sunday ran a piece outlining some of the Democrats’ strategies for undermining and challenging the very institution that they themselves have bolstered into the final authority on everything from abortion to gay marriage to health care to election battles.
Among the proposals being floated are to somehow change the lifetime appointments of federal judges, to legally force them to recuse themselves in ethical conflicts of interest, and to find ways of reclaiming the judge-ships that they now have come to regard as ‘stolen.’
“Progressives have felt that they were well taken care of in the judiciary and that we had secured a lot of important rights with this past litigation mid-century and that was going to be the way we would defend our gain,” said Todd Tucker, a legal scholar at the left-leaning Roosevelt Institute, according to the HuffPo.
Of course, in tampering with the delicate system of protocols and procedures, as they previously did with Congressional process in judicial appointments, Democrats risk setting further precedents that will ultimately backfire on them.
Despite having used similar efforts to thwart conservative appointees under Republican presidents, liberals continue to seethe over the blocking of Obama nominee Merrick Garland to the high court.
Already, some groups have set their sights on the prospect of packing the courts under the next Democratic president. One group, led by activist Aaron Belkin, has even dubbed itself 1.20.21, in presumptive reference to the next presidential inauguration.
The group’s mission is to add four additional Supreme Court seats, naturally to be filled with liberal judges, in response to the spots held by Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—both of whom, Belkin claims, without evidence, are invalid.
“To say that Democrats shouldn’t unsteal the courts because we’re worried about the normative context, I think, is to ignore the very normative context that we’re already in,” Belkin told the HuffPo.
Even so, 13 seats may not be enough.
Although entrenching the Supreme Court’s conservative wing through the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to replace the late Antonin Scalia and retired “swing vote” Anthony Kennedy had leftist activists up in arms, there is a good chance that the next seat to be filled will be that of ailing liberal stalwart Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Should Republicans face the prospect of a 7-4 court majority, liberals like Belkin undoubtedly are already are formulating ways to pre-emptively declare it stolen.
As the Left works overtime to further politicize the judicial branch, some in the judiciary, such as Chief Justice John Roberts, are reluctantly entering the fray, ostensibly to preserve the courts’ neutrality, but ultimately doing the opposite.
Roberts himself was met with some criticism for hypocrisy after rebuffing President Trump for calling the liberal Ninth Circuit “Obama judges.”
Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have “Obama judges,” and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country. It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an “independent judiciary,” but if it is why……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018
In all likelihood, Roberts—a George W. Bush appointee—who already has been the key swing vote in cases like the one deciding Obamacare, could move farther to the left to provide ideological balance if more conservatives were to arrive.
Partisans, including current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, praised Roberts for stepping into the public ring with Trump and advocating for an “independent” judiciary by serving a leftist agenda.
I don’t agree very often with Chief Justice Roberts, especially his partisan decisions which seem highly political on Citizens United, Janus, and Shelby.
But I am thankful today that he—almost alone among Republicans—stood up to President Trump and for an independent judiciary.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 23, 2018