From NBC News:
WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats will introduce legislation Thursday to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices, joining progressive activists pushing to transform the court.
We shouldn’t be too excited, though. As NBC’s Sahil Kapur reminds us, it’s never going to happen with these slim Democratic majorities.
The Supreme Court can be expanded by an act of Congress, but the legislation is highly unlikely to become law in the near future given Democrats’ slim majorities, which include scores of lawmakers who are not on board with the idea. President Joe Biden has said he is “not a fan” of packing the court.
But it represents an undercurrent of progressive fury at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for denying a vote in 2016 to President Barack Obama’s pick to fill a vacancy, citing the approaching election, before confirming Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett the week before the election last year.
Ultimately, our progressive “fury” will get its due, for whatever that is worth. As it turns out, it’s not worth very much, as far as the current Supreme Court is concerned.
Some have suggested there may be some effect in just advancing the concept of re-imagining this warped abomination of a Court as becoming a body that actually represents the interests of the majority of Americans. As things currently stand, however, the ultra-conservative amalgamation of third-rate Justices we are now likely saddled with for a generation or more is the product of a minority of voters whose electoral influence, under a wholly, outmoded American system, has resulted in disproportionate Republican U.S. Senate and Executive representation. Under that same system, that minority of American voters also elected — again, contrary to the will of most voting Americans — the last two Republican presidents, who proceeded to pack the court with these reactionary, conservative ideologues with an intent towards preserving their power as long as possible in the face of unalterable demographic change.
In other words, if this country was designed to represent the majority of Americans who inhabit it, most if not all all of those Justices would actually be on the liberal side of the aisle.
Perhaps that fact may at least create a dim awareness among the Court’s conservative members of their inherent, irredeemable illegitimacy.
But I wouldn’t waste any time holding my breath for that to happen. While hopefully this president will have the opportunity to restore the lower federal courts to a more representational status — and there is great value in that — this Supreme Court, as currently constituted, will be an obstacle to progress, for the remainder of many of our lives. Barring some miraculous sea change in the mentalities and attitudes of these six people, any real solutions to this country’s many problems will almost certainly have to be achieved outside its bounds. Either that or we somehow manage to elect people on our side who don’t vacillate in the face of change.
It’s probably a good idea to accept and understand that fact now, the better to deal with it later.