The Fight to Pack the Court

By Andrea Pader
Biden and Trump Fight to Pack the Supreme Court

November 3, 2020, was election day, where the two candidates, Joe Biden on the Democratic side and Donald Trump on the Republican side, were fighting for presidency. Both candidates showed strong support on each side, making the election more interesting as they are both tried to secure 270 electoral votes. Coming closer to election day, the democratic side became more prominent and showed stronger evidence of winning, so the GOP had to do something. On October 27, 2020, Amy Coney Barrett became the 103rd associate justice of the Supreme Court, giving the GOP more power in the court. 


To counteract this appointment in leadership, Jeannie Suk Gersen from The New Yorker stated that the democrats “have stepped up a discussion of ‘court-packing,’ in order to undermine a 6–3 conservative majority that otherwise may be entrenched for a generation.”’ The discussion has been brought up because this “court-packing” would be a recurrence that has been executed in the past. Going back to the Great Depression, “The Court had similarly struck down federal laws regulating hours and wages in coal mines and requiring railroad companies to provide retirement and pension plans for employees” (The New Yorker). As president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew he had to make a change for the people, but he did not have the power to do so alone. Since the number of justices in the court is not constitutionally fixed, he took advantage and threatened to pack the court. F.D.R wanted to ‘“infuse new blood” into the courts, in order to prevent “hardening of the judicial arteries,”(The New Yorker). This way, when a Justice would turn 70, there would be another person appointed to keep the relevance of topics and issues up to date with the changing time. 


If the Democratic party were to pack the court then it would be a repeat of the past, ultimately securing a majority party in the U.S Supreme Court. However,  it was deemed “as a menace to the integrity of the institution” according to Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes in a letter approved by Justice Willis Van Devanter and Justice Louis Brandeis, a conservative and a liberal respectively  (The New Yorker). The idea of “packing the court” ruins the principles of judicial power because administrations can secure a party majority and essentially “remodel” the Supreme Court as the court is supposed to be above political parties and not engage in this type of back and forth. The most recent vote said religious gatherings cannot be limited by the government.  It’s a swing from the previous court decisions without Barrett on board.