Sen. Deb Fischer
Sen. Deb Fischer
By U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer

Earlier this month, eight months after President Biden created a group to study “Supreme Court reform,” the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States finally released its report. The far left has been waiting eagerly for this moment for months.

The Commission was created to appease members of the Democratic Party, who want to pack the Supreme Court with justices who will ignore the Constitution in favor of a left-wing agenda. But instead of lending the fringe left the legitimacy they hoped for, the nearly 300-page report simply lays out the arguments for and against court packing, then makes no recommendation.

In fact, the lawyers, professors, and former judges the president appointed were deeply divided on the issue of adding more Justices to our nation’s highest court. Even though 29 of the Commission’s 34 members were liberals, they expressed their “profound disagreement over whether Court expansion at this moment in time would be wise.” Two conservative members even resigned in October.

If you can believe it, many Democrats in Congress are fond of saying that expanding the Supreme Court for political reasons is actually “unpacking” it.

Representative Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat who serves as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has claimed that “unpacking” the Court by expanding it would “restore balance,” and that Senate Democrats “should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court.”

What he isn’t saying is that Democrats are pushing for these changes simply because some justices make decisions they don’t like.

Adding justices to the Supreme Court is court packing, plain and simple. President Franklin Roosevelt explored the idea in the 1930s, after the Supreme Court struck down key parts of his New Deal. The Commission’s report called his attempt to pack the Court a “needless, futile, and utterly dangerous abandonment of constitutional principle.” No president has been reckless enough – or short-sighted enough – to push for it since.

President Biden notably said he was “not a fan” of court packing during his campaign. Then he backtracked and said he was open to the idea, giving into pressure from the far left wing of his party. He created this Commission instead, leaving the problem of taking a position on this issue for another, more politically convenient day.

As the Commission’s own report details, court packing is often used as a political weapon in authoritarian regimes – not in the United States. In Venezuela, for example, Hugo Chavez cemented support for his socialist policies by expanding the country’s Supreme Tribunal of Justice from 20 members to 32 back in 2004. Look at all the good that did for what was once the wealthiest country in South America.

We need to leave this practice to dictatorships, where it belongs. The Commission’s report notes that stable democracies “have retained a strong commitment to judicial independence and have not tended to make such moves” to alter their courts. It is clear that the United States is the greatest country on Earth because of our respect for the rule of law, not in spite of it.

Earlier this year, I cosponsored a Senate resolution that would fix the number of Supreme Court Justices at nine through the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. In light of this report, our resolution is more important than ever.

Packing the Supreme Court would take an axe to the tradition of judicial independence in this country. As the report says, courts “cannot serve as effective checks on government officials if their personnel can be altered by those same government officials.”

We cannot “pack” the Supreme Court. The president must put an end to this idea once and for all.