• Gavin Hamrick

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Change the Rules

On April 15, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee put forth the Judiciary Act of 2021. This bill seeks to expand the size of the Supreme Court from nine justices to 13. If successfully passed into law, the Judiciary Act of 2021 would mark the first expansion of our nation’s highest court since 1869.


Following this, on April 22, the House of Representatives passed a bill that attempts to give Washington, D.C. full statehood. The House vote was entirely partisan, with all 216 Democrats voting in favor and all 208 Republicans present voting against the bill.


Some House Democrats, such as Jerry Nadler and Hank Johnson, were quick to defend their court packing bill as simply attempting to match the number of justices to the 13 circuit courts. Others, like Senator Ed Markey, were more blatant regarding their intentions. In response to the proposal by the House Judiciary Committee, Markey remarked that, “Republicans stole the Court’s majority, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation completing their crime spree.” Indeed, it would appear that the desire to pack the Supreme Court is more about the outrage at the fact that six of the current Justices are Republican appointees.


While the Supreme Court has already lost much of its perceived neutrality in the eyes of many Americans across the political spectrum, this recent move by House Democrats would destroy any hope at maintaining the Court as a non-partisan institution. Even the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in response to calls to pack the Supreme Court, said, “If anything would make the court appear partisan, it would be that.”


The House motion to grant Washington, D.C. statehood, while pitched as an attempt to expand representation, should be called what it is: a partisan effort to expand Democratic power in Congress. In the 2020 Presidential Election, Joe Biden won 92.1% of the vote in Washington, D.C., while Donald Trump won only 5.4%. Given this electoral reality the debate over last week’s House vote should really just be interpreted as a debate over whether or not to add two Democratic Senators and one Democratic Representative to Congress.


Attempted power grabs by the left do not end with court packing and D.C. statehood. Democrats have long called for the abolishment of the Electoral College following Trump’s 2016 victory, where he won more electoral votes than Hillary Clinton but lost the popular vote. Given these recent proposals, it is clear that Democrats are playing to win, even if it means radically changing the nature of our republic.