Packing Supreme Court with more seats does nothing for democracy

With control of the House for the first time since 2011, Democrats have proposed a number of legislative initiatives, including ways to reform the federal judiciary. Indeed, following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, the health scares of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the frustration with the perceived ideological direction, there has been momentum to change the structure of the Supreme Court. One of the more disconcerting notions floated is the prospect of adding more seats to the Supreme Court in order to politically “balance it” the next time Democrats control both the White House and Congress. This is a tactic known as “court packing.”

No administration or legislative chamber since Franklin Roosevelt has earnestly tried court packing and for good reason. Much like stripping jurisdiction and abolishing judgeships, most Americans recognize this tactic for what it is, which is a direct attack on the independence of the Supreme Court. The judiciary serves as a check on government overreach and abuse. Without its independence, there would be very little to stop politicians from testing, and ultimately expanding, the scope of their power. It is no coincidence that court packing is employed by would be autocrats all over the world rather than by leaders of liberal democracies.

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