Restructuring the Supreme Court

“Packing” the Supreme Court (increasing the number of justices on the Court) sounds like a bad idea. Even Justice Breyer, a liberal, thinks it would erode public confidence in the Court. On the other hand, Republicans have been packing the court for some time, and not with standard mainstream Republicans, but with ideologues. Most notoriously, in 2016, Mitch McConnell, abetted by the Republican-controlled senate, refused to allow a hearing for President Obama’s superbly qualified nominee, Merrick Garland, enabling Trump to install a temperamentally unfit right-wing judge after he took office. And in October 2020, Republicans rammed through confirmation of a right-wing ideologue on the eve of the presidential election.

Robert Reich, master of salient facts, has noted that “since 1969, Democratic presidents have appointed 4 Supreme Court justices, while Republicans have appointed 16 (5 of them by presidents who lost the popular vote).” Arguably, to achieve public confidence in the Court, the balance should be restored.