What to Do About the Supreme Court?

Democrats in Congress plan to introduce a bill to expand the SCOTUS from nine to thirteen justices. At the moment this bill has very little chance of going anywhere, but that may not be the point. The Dems may just be attempting to signal the Supremes to watch themselves. (Naturally Nancy Pelosi is being a poopyhead and saying she won’t bring a bill to expand the Court to the House floor.)

At TPM, Kate Riga writes that the Court has been sitting on some abortion cases for a remarkably long time. When Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed last year anti-reproductive rights advocates were certain Roe v. Wade was toast. And, of course, now that I’m blogging about a delay they’ll probably issue some draconian decision tomorrow.

But assuming they don’t, it does begin to look as if something is going on behind closed doors to inject some moderation into them. And I’m betting that something may be all the talk of expanding the Court. Chief Justice John Roberts may not be want to be the Chief Justice who precided over a Court that was so radical it had to be watered down.

Last week President Biden announced he was forming a commission to study Supreme Court reform. “The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices,” the announcement said. There is no deadline given for the commission’s recommendations. Still, it gives the justices something to think about.

At the moment a bill to expand the Court is unlikely to get around the 60-vote cloture threshold in the Senate. But Paul Waldman writes that maybe the appointment process could be reformed. One suggestion: Give every new POTUS two Supreme Court picks, and let the size of the Court fluctuate, he says.  If a justice dies or retires, the POTUS doesn’t get to make another appointment; he or she just gets two. That would eliminate a lot of the game-playing and drama around Supreme Court picks.

That wouldn’t, however, save us from the current Court’s majority of hyper-conservative religious extremists. See The Supreme Court Is Making New Law in the Shadows in the New York Times.

5 thoughts on “What to Do About the Supreme Court?

  1. Zealots will be zealots.

    But if the "Enslave the Mothers to Their Children"zealots get their way, there may not be too many RepubliKKKLANS left in DC after coming elections.

    And that's why, just maybe, the GOP powers-that-be and Roberts may have said to those zealots, "Look, delay, impede them women folk from getting an abortion as long as possible, and make it as difficult as possible.  That's ok.  But if you criminalize abortions, women will still find and get abortions.  What people won't be able to find anymore, is Republican politicians.  So for the love of god, don't bad abortions!  Keep the status quo!!!  That's the best recruitment issue we've got!"

    But I'm not sure the zealots are smart enough to listen.

    They want abortions STOPPED NOW!!!!!

    And they also want the women arrested for attempted murder.

    Hmm…  I wonder?

    If the zealots DON'T get an abortion ban, pronto, will they decide to quit voting if they don't get what they want, because after almost 50 years of promising to make getting – hell, just searching for – an abortion illegal?

    And that with a 6 to 3 SCOTUS, if not illegal now, then when?

    And let's say that the SCOTUS DOES ban abortions*, what'll be left that will motivate the Teavangelicals to continue to vote.

    *Obviously, this is the last thing I'd want!

    • The plutocrats will not want abortion actually banned, because feckless young heirs sometimes neglect to use condoms.

      • The Rich and their children can always afford private health care, which now includes "medical tourism", so strict national anti-abortion laws would only involve extra expense & inconvenience for them.

        The GOP Donor Class generally doesn't care about abortion as a moral issue, but it has served them VERY well as a political handle; if they actually delivered on their decades-old promises to ban abortion and contraceptives, they'd be squandering one of their best political weapons.

  2. The focus on reforming the Court is an effect. The cause is the excessive power a minority has over the majority. Nobody would care about the Supreme Court if the government / legislature really reflected the majority of the people in the country.

    There are so many weird workaround in place – such as passing needed legislation thru reconciliation, or the the excessive use of the filibuster – or changing the membership in the Supreme Court – all because the legislature does not reflect the will of the majority.

    This is a sign of a system that is on its knees. Weird workarounds are routine because the normal processes don't work. Good-bye USA version 1.0.

    • How do we only get an illusion of majority rule?  The distortion of democracy gives other than one person one vote.  Now the Republicans are again trying to slant voting laws to increase their leverage.  The SCOTUS has already been skewed in their direction, and corrections need to be made.  The scales of lady justice have too many thumbs on them.

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