After the Senate confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and many other Democrats effectively had a tantrum, calling for radical changes to the Supreme Court. After decades of the Supreme Court unilaterally amending the Constitution in the way Democrats like, leftists apparently cannot stomach the idea that the Court would uphold the law as written, rather than inventing new rights like abortion and same-sex marriage.
“Expand the court,” AOC tweeted. “Republicans do this because they don’t believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do. And for a long time they’ve been correct. But do not let them bully the public into thinking their bulldozing is normal but a response isn’t. There is a legal process for expansion.”
Republicans do this because they don’t believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do. And for a long time they’ve been correct. But do not let them bully the public into thinking their bulldozing is normal but a response isn’t. There is a legal process for expansion.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 27, 2020
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a member of AOC’s “Squad” and infamous in her own right, echoed AOC’s call. “Expand the court,” she tweeted, retweeting the Bronx former bartender.
“Remember that Republicans have lost 6 of the last 7 popular votes, but have appointed 6 of the last 9 justices. By expanding the court we fix this broken system and have the court better represent the values of the American people,” Omar added.
Remember that Republicans have lost 6 of the last 7 popular votes, but have appointed 6 of the last 9 justices.
By expanding the court we fix this broken system and have the court better represent the values of the American people.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 27, 2020
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), another member of AOC’s Squad, retweeted Jamaal Bowman, an AOC-style candidate for Congress.
“Expand the Court,” Bowman tweeted. “Roe v Wade, LGBTQ+ rights and health care must be protected.”
The push to pack the Supreme Court is not limited to the far Left, however. Even ostensible moderate Democratic nominee Joe Biden has refused to rule out packing the Court and has explicitly called for a “commission” to “reform” the Supreme Court that will almost certainly undermine the institution.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) praised this plan in remarks on MSNBC after the Senate confirmed Barrett.
PELOSI: "Should we expand the court, lets take a look and see." pic.twitter.com/hVS5OaT9nW
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 27, 2020
Democrats have been warning that if Barrett gets on the Court, she will lead the justices to immediately alter the Constitution in a direction that suits conservative activist interests. Yet conservatives support her not because she will enshrine their views into law but because she will help restore the Founders’ vision of the way the Constitution works.
The Founders did not intend for the Supreme Court to invent new rights that were not explicitly laid out in the Constitution. In fact, the Founders laid out a process to amend the Constitution, and they made it difficult to ensure that changes to the underlying rules of the game had to secure a super-majority of support.
Time and time again, activist justices circumvented the amendment process and circumvented the legislative process to make sweeping changes to American law.
In Roe v. Wade (1973), the Supreme Court struck down duly-implemented state laws restricting abortion in the name of protecting a “right” that does not once appear in the document — and which the Founders would have opposed. In Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the Supreme Court struck down the will of the people in the states and the federal government, unilaterally redefining the central institution in society with no legislative debate or constitutional amendment process.
Democrats liked these results because these decisions favored their interests, but these episodes represented a heinous power grab. If Americans wanted abortion or same-sex marriage, it is their duty to elect candidates who support those issues and encourage elected legislatures to craft laws on those issues. Legislators must compromise in order to pass such legislation, which ensures that separate concerns like religious freedom and freedom of association would be taken into consideration.
The best part of using the legislative process to solve these key issues, however, isn’t the fact that legislators have to compromise in order to pass laws. Legislators are also held accountable to the people — voters can vote them out! If Democrats had enshrined same-sex marriage in a way that attacked religious liberty, for example, voters could oust those Democrats and elect Republicans to protect religious liberty.
By circumventing this entire process, the Supreme Court enshrined a radical approach to abortion and same-sex marriage into law, without the mediation of legislative debate and without the voters’ ability to hold them accountable.
In response to this kind of heinous abuse of power, organizations like the Federalist Society have advocated originalism, a return to interpreting the Constitution according to its original public meaning, in order to restore legislative and amendment power back to the people’s elected representatives, where it belongs.
Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation represents a key victory not for “far-right” partisans but for originalism.
Yet Democrats respond to this much overdue correction by calling for packing the Supreme Court. “Expand the court” is merely a euphemism for adding more justices to the Supreme Court in an attempt to use the Court to secure political victories for Democrats.
Upset that Amy Coney Barrett represents a return to a limited Supreme Court that will not abuse its power by jamming liberal priorities down the throats of Americans, Democrats respond with schemes to destroy the Court in protest. This is a national tantrum.
Americans should remember that Democrats actually support an unrestrained Supreme Court that will rush radical policies into law with no debate and no accountability. Republicans aren’t destroying the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, Democrats are. The American people should not let them get away with it.
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.