It's Time To Unpack The Court

Thom plus logo Donald Trump was bragging a week or so ago that Obama had "left me 128 judges to fill" as if Obama was just sloppy. The actual number was 105, but Obama didn't "leave" them; he'd appointed genuinely qualified people, many women and minorities, to fill every single one of those judicial slots, and Mitch McConnell simply blocked them in the senate for the last two years of the Obama presidency.

McConnell even blocked Obama's appointment of a brilliant Black attorney, Myra Selby, to the Seventh Circuit Court just to keep the seat open for Amy Coney Barrett, who now occupies that stolen seat in her first job as a federal judge.

McConnell also blocked Obama's appointment of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court nearly a year before the election so rightwing hack Neil Gorsuch could get the seat instead, as soon as Donald Trump was sworn in.

As a result, Trump and McConnell have gotten over 200 federal judges and two Supreme Court Justices through the Senate, meaning over a quarter of all federal judges have been packed into our court system by Trump and virtually 100% of them have been straight and white, the overwhelming majority men.

This is court-packing on a scale that is nearly unprecedented, and refusing to even hold hearings on Judge Garland is totally unprecedented.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln wanted to get a solid vote on the court against slavery, so he and his Republican colleagues who controlled the Senate and the House increased the number of Supreme Court justices all the way up to 10.

Two years later, when Lincoln was assassinated and slaveholder Andrew Johnson became president, Congress reduced the size of the Court specifically to deny Johnson an opportunity to appoint any justices.

After Johnson left office, Republican President Ulysses Grant oversaw Congress increasing the size of the Supreme Court back up to nine.

Similarly, after the brutal "Revolution of 1800" election, President Thomas Jefferson increased the size of the Court so that he could put a new justice on it.

During times of national crisis, changing the composition of the Court by changing the number of justices has been done repeatedly.

Court packing and unpacking have a long tradition in America.

Mitch McConnell has been packing the federal courts for six years now, and, as a result, the nation is calling out for rebalancing.

Biden and Harris need to stop avoiding the question and point out that six years of unprecedented partisan actions by Mitch McConnell have left our courts, particularly our Supreme Court, badly out of balance.

There are a variety of ways to restore that balance, and all need to be examined, including blocking the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett and increasing the size of the Supreme Court.



Legend 2 years 33 weeks ago

The founding fathers were not as smart or crystal ball readers that a lot credit them to be. We now have a case where a super minority is nominating a religious fanatic to the Supreme Court. Elected by a Senate that is so lopsided by small states that it is ridiculous. It takes 22 of the smaller population states to equal the population of California. These 22 state gets 44 Senators. CA gets 2. This lopsided vote applies to other states such as New York. Then, the Senate is using 51% vote to pass a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. What the American Citizen wants is completely left out of the equation. Also you have the fact that Merrick Garland was passed up because Mitch McConnell refused to bring his nomination to the floor. Moscow Mitch and numerous other Senators said it was because it was too close to the Election at 293 days. They did not have to say this. But they did, setting precedent and rule. Now that we are 3 weeks from an election they want to ram it through, thus negating their previous statements. So a very small part of the population that is represented by 51% of the Senators ,will pass this Religious Radical into a lifetime term on the Supreme Court. What could go wrong? Vote!

DrRichard 2 years 33 weeks ago

Yes, I caught that statement and wish Biden had answered it like you did here. That is interesting about the size of the Court. It isn't specified in the Constitution but then for the first years of the republic this was not a major part of the government with state courts being more important. Americans have gotten used to 9 justices, and the FDR attempt to increase it left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. But it certainly is possible. Increasing the size of the House is another item that is getting some overdue consideration too. And finally getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate would be a very positive step to reduce control by the few. While Biden is probably too much of a centralist to push for any of these changes, at least they are now on the table and will be discussed by the next (hopefully) Democratic-controlled Congress.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 33 weeks ago

If Mother Nature (God forbid, ah, after hesitating for just a wee moment) won't strike down enough hypocritical Republican Senators with the plague to assist the Democrats in denying Moscow Mitch a quorum for a vote -- since that seems about the only way his Wall Street-owned Senate won't make this happen -- then why shouldn't Democrats expand the Supreme Court in their favor when they get the chance?

Why not tilt America's high and mighty star chamber back to the left to counteract the Republicans' radical lurch to the extreme right, where medieval religion and fairy tales have more sway than science and truth?

This is a moral imperative for Democrats but is only possible by capturing the other two branches of government. They would have Biden's pen, the votes in Congress, as well as a mandate from the People. It's common sense, simple fairness, legal and constitutional -- what's not to like? Having more judges deciding such important matters is a good thing.

Legend 2 years 33 weeks ago

Friday's show telephone problems are a very frustrating part of the show. If callins cannot be done clearly, stop callins. This has been a problem through the years that I thought that you had fixed. It is not worth listening to garbled calls and your not being able to figure out why. Then repeating it for 30 calls.

rostasi 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think most people are not wanting the Democrats to expand the Court "in their favor,"
but, rather, make the court more representative of the American public - even if that
means extending the number of justices.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 33 weeks ago

Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

Most polls (chase 'em down yourself) for a long time now, decades, demonstrate plainly that when you ask the average workaday citizen whether or not he or she supports specific generic policy issues -- out of the context of any political affiliation -- most people regardless of party, by large margins (in the 60, 70, sometimes 80 percent ranges, depending on the issue) favor positions traditionally, almost exclusively championed by Democrats, not Republicans. It's quite startling actually. Here's a partial list in no particular order:

  • Reform the voting process so that more, not fewer, citizens can vote.
  • End partisan gerrymandering.
  • End voter suppression tactics.
  • Enact sensible and meaningful gun legislation that works.
  • Reform our immigration system so that it represents our values.
  • LGBTQ rights.
  • Strengthen Social Security and Medicare so it's there when you need it.
  • Healthy pension programs, free of Wall Street manipulation and exposure.
  • Subsidize the states to help them strengthen Medicaid.
  • Strengthen the all-important unemployment insurance/benefits safety net.
  • Workable, subsidized healthcare for every United States citizen.
  • Get the bloated money-changers and billionaire profiteers out of our healthcare.
  • Police reform (bigots out!).
  • Crackdown on white-supremacist militia groups.
  • Increase affordable housing.
  • Increase funding for the mentally ill.
  • Designate alcoholism and drug addiction as diseases worthy of proper treatment.
  • Strengthen welfare safety nets to keep the poor fed, healthy, and off the streets.
  • Get nursing homes out of the uncaring hands of stingy millionaires and billionaires.
  • Subsidized, free-admission higher education, just like grades K-12.
  • Affordable corporate and government-subsidized daycare for workers' and students' children. (For God's sake, what is wrong with people!)
  • The right women have over their own bodies.
  • Equal work, equal pay.
  • Higher minimum wage.
  • Strengthen workplace safety.
  • Strong, family-oriented unions (which is what unions are all about).
  • Subsidize public schools over private charter schools and religious indoctrination.
  • Clean land, air, and water.
  • Healthy and poison-free foods and medications.
  • Regulations that make all consumer products safe.
  • Regulations that prevent companies from lying to consumers.
  • A fully-funded Veterans Administration.
  • A fully-funded Post Office.
  • A fully-funded Forest Service.
  • Well-regulated oversight for banks and other financial institutions.
  • A national, fully-funded highway and bridge infrastructure rebuild.
  • Subsidized mass transportation and modern bullet trains.
  • SCIENCE-BASED legislation to mitigate the coming disaster of human-caused climate destruction.
  • Heavy regulations on heavily-polluting industries.
  • End endless war for profit.
  • No more over-the-top subsidies and underhanded political favors for the oil, gas, and arms industries and their billionaire owners and Lords of the Universe.
  • Get all corporate monopoly money out of politics.
  • End socialism for the rich, which is astronomically more expensive than socialism for the poor.
  • Break the billionaire stranglehold on the military-industrial-congressional complex.
  • Bust up the big monopolies that steal the wealth from our intended system of actual free enterprise.
  • Lower taxes for workers; raise taxes on the rich -- substantially!
  • End rich-man loopholes and force the one percent who control most of the nation's wealth, especially the one-tenth of one percent, to pay their goddamn fair share!
  • Did we mention to get their fcking money out of our politics?

In other words, it's about damn time we become a civilized nation!

​I think most people do want Democrats to expand the Court "in their favor,"
because then it would be more representative of the American public, not less. How could that be worse than the Court rapidly expanding right now in Republicans' hugely hypocritical favor -- a power grab by a ruthless minority happening right before our very eyes in real-time, not hypothetically?

In fact, it would be infinitely better for Democrats to fight like hell for the common people rather than for the big-money people and their extreme wealth and power disparity, for which Republicans will fight to the death, literally. The Cons' donor class is whom the Court has consistently favored for a long, long time and will continue to do so for a long, long time to come.

Unless we learn how to resist effectively, fight back, and beat McConnell & Co. and his well-greased Republican crew of Wall Street sellouts at their own game of hardball, in that real universe where we physically reside, with both feet planted firmly on the ground know, the red pill -- then We the People are destined to lose.

To believe otherwise is a huge tell.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think the Suprme Court should be balanced. Five Democrats and five Repiblicans, chosen by the same. When a Democrat steps down, that same party will chose a replacement, reguardless of who is president. Always, five and five. Or six and six. Whatever.

Legend 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think the only change that I would make is "Let the Post Office be Profitable". Now if I could figure out why anybody would vote Republican other than the 1% that want it all. Fox News and the right wing media.

Legend 2 years 33 weeks ago

Moscow Mitch in a debate with Amy McGrath says that he brought in $17.5 billion to Kentucky that would not be there if he was not majority leader in the Senate. I have been to Kentucky and the obvious question is where did it go? The next question is why is that Kentucky's money? It is Blue states supporting the Welfare Red states.

Legend 2 years 33 weeks ago

Even Trumps Right Wing media (in his mind) is abandoning him. Recommends the Bongino Report?

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 33 weeks ago

That's true. If unleashed from Republican restraints, the Post Office could be wildly profitable, even though it was not originally intended to operate as a for-profit corporation in the Constitution, which is a subtle change of narrative first introduced by the privatize-everything crowd.

If it didn't have to finance pensions 75 years or so into the future (ridiculous), if it could offer a public banking service for people without private accounts in the big banks, if it could sell more postal service-related products and merchandise, if it could compete fairly online ...if, if, if... then it could certainly earn spectacular profits to roll back into its infrastructure to make it even more efficient.

And the best thing is that no privatized investment tycoons would be skimming the profits. With plenty of income to operate efficiently, it would also have the financial leeway to be more amendable as an agency that provides a service, i.e., Postal "Service." For the cost of a single stamp, an old man on a remote mountaintop will get a birthday card from his faraway granddaughter in record time with dedicated resources -- not at all cost-effective but the right thing to do (sniff).

An invaluable investment by American taxpayers for over two hundred years, why would anybody in their right mind want to dismantle and destroy such a successful and beloved American institution? Oh yeah ...Republicans! Alas, the good times are not to be had; because of the wingers' dastardly schemes, the USPS is now in dire straights and desperately needs taxpayer help to stay afloat.

It didn't have to be this way. The sad fact of the matter is that the reprobate RepubliCONs desperately do not want the Post Office to succeed at all because it is in direct competition with their donors who represent private shipping and banking interests.

And perhaps more important to the destroyers of all that is right and good, is that the Post Office harbors one of the biggest public-sector unions left standing (full of veterans, btw), which Corporate America absolutely hates and is bent on eradicating altogether or at least de-toothing and de-nutting, which it has already done by and large to the private-sector unions.

This is amazing: WATCH: Sheldon Whitehouse masterfully exposes right-wing conspiracy to rig the courts.

Supporting evidence: Trump destroyed the legitimacy of the judiciary by trying to entrench far-right minority rule.

alis volat's picture
alis volat 2 years 33 weeks ago

Hats-off to deepspace and his list. Want to know where the money might be found for some of it? The military budget. In fact the military could provide some assistance with the clean environment, and maybe a few others.

I saw the debate Legend spoke about. Lt Col McGrath kicked McConnell's butt. He just kept bragging about that $17.5 billion he delivered in pork. I can assure you any young voters listening would not think that it was right for him to use his extra power to paper their state. They get the concept of ethics and fairness. His abuse of power may even backfire in Kentucky.

He claimed Pres Obama killed coal. Renewables and automation are killing coal jobs. Fair enough because coal has killed countless people and other species, and it is way past time we fight back.

SueN's picture
SueN 2 years 33 weeks ago

I did a transcript with links of Sheldon Whitehouse yesterday.

Legend 2 years 33 weeks ago

SueN's transcript is well worth reading.

vetinla's picture
vetinla 2 years 33 weeks ago

A big thank you to Sue N, for the transcript and links. Nice to know just how SCREWED, we, the American people, really are.

U$A, number 1 in corruption...

deepspace's picture
deepspace 2 years 33 weeks ago


SueN's picture
SueN 2 years 33 weeks ago


SueN's picture
SueN 2 years 33 weeks ago


changeX's picture
changeX 2 years 32 weeks ago

It seems we have all been watching "Valley of the Dolls - goes to court" in the judicial hearings. What a remarkable resemblance. Anna Marie "Patty" Duke was an actress and health advocate and played Neely O'Hara in the film Valley of the Dolls (67). She devoted much of her time to advocating for and educating the public on mental health. No offense to the late Patty Duke for drawing the comparision.

Joe Biden, as President please unpack the disfigurued court and allow RBG all the dignigty she and the American people deserve.

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