On Packing the Court, Republicans Must Give the Left a Choice


Monday, April 26, 2021

The Democrats have not learned their lesson. In 2013, they nuked the filibuster for judicial nominees to get some judges confirmed. Three Trump-appointed justices later, one would think they’d see the error in their ways but they are doubling down. This week, Democrats unveiled legislation to expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to thirteen which, if passed, would allow Joe Biden to nominate four new justices and restore a liberal majority on the court. If Republicans are to prevent this authoritarian takeover of our judicial system, they must give the Left a choice. 

The first option is that they continue down this path, and Republicans retaliate with a policy of mutually assured destruction. Every Republican must first and foremost advocate for the independence of the judiciary and keeping the Court at nine seats. But they must also make it clear that they won’t allow this power grab by the Democrats to succeed without a fight. For every justice they add, Republicans ought to pledge to add three. From there, pledge to add seats to the district and circuit courts and fill them with conservative judges. Pledge to create legal advocacy groups designed solely to pursue an agenda of repealing liberal precedents and enshrining conservative ones as soon as Republican-appointed judges regain control of the courts. Republican state officials should pledge not to recognize or enforce any decision rendered by a Court packed by the Democrats. 

The Left will no doubt respond to this by restacking the Court once they regain power and ignoring the rulings of conservative Courts. Both sides will contribute to the destruction of the judiciary until it is merely a pawn of the party in power. If it comes to that, our republic shall have ceased to be a beacon of hope and will instead be nothing more than a pathetic banana republic. 

Or, rather than play a game in which there can be no winners, give the Left the option of not playing. Do this by passing and ratifying an amendment which limits the number of justices to nine. Although this may be asking for too much too soon, let us be able to reinstate the filibuster for judicial nominees and once more allow bipartisanship to take center stage when qualified nominees are presented before the Senate rather than these partisan theatrics which have proven a cancer to our country. If this option is taken, the independence of the judiciary will be preserved and the American experiment will endure. Some courts will be conservative, some will lean liberal. But if you have a problem with a current court, the answer will be to win more elections rather than destroy institutions.  

It brings me no joy advocating for Republicans to be ready to pack the Court in retaliation and play a role in the destruction of the American judicial system. To some, it may seem paradoxical to threaten the exact thing we seek to avoid as a means to avoiding it. History, however, has shown that only strength can deter tyranny and that the only thing worse than having a nuclear option is being the only one without a nuclear option. We must demonstrate that if the Democrats pack the Supreme Court it will end in mutual destruction. If Republicans fail to make this clear, the Democrats will simply run over them, pack the Supreme Court, and usher in an era of lefist authoritarianism. 

Any who may object to this on the basis of upholding our principles or preserving our institutions are as foolish as those who refuse to lift their sword in the name of peace as the enemy breaches the city gates. Refusing to stand up to this authoritarianism is not a principled act, it is an act of surrender. It is the defeat of our principles. If the principles we cherish, including the independence of the judiciary and the preservation of our institutions are to be upheld, we must show that we are willing to fight for them. From there, it is up to the Left if they will choose mutually assured destruction or peace. I very much hope they will choose the latter. 

Jack Shields is a student at Texas A&M University. He is a history major and huge Dallas Cowboys fan, with interests in politics, religion, and philosophy.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jack Shields

Jack Shields is a student at Texas A&M University. He is a history major and huge Dallas Cowboys fan, with interests in politics, religion, and philosophy.

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