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Here's Why Court Packing May Be the Country's Best Hope to Reverse Trump's Corruption of the Supreme Court

October 9, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

It would be a bold move — but it's no longer unthinkable.

With Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the far right now has a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court—which means that everything from abortion rights and gay rights and to health care reform could be on the chopping block. The High Court already leaned conservative, but while the retired Justice Anthony Kennedy (appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987) was a right-winger with libertarian leanings at times, Kavanaugh is much more of a social conservative in the Clarence Thomas/Antonin Scalia vein. And this new edition of the Court could not only further the theocratic agenda of the Christian Right, but also, overturn the Affordable Care Act of 2010, criminalize affirmative action or attack voting rights—all of which makes an argument in favor of something President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted in the 1930s: Court packing.

Presently, the Supreme Court has nine seats, but were the Court to be packed, that number could be increased to 11, 13 or more seats—and it would be easier to make that happen than to impose term limits for justices, which would require altering the U.S. Constitution.

While presidents are limited to two terms and governors, congressmen, senators and city council members can be voted out of office, Supreme Court appointments are permanent—which means that Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old Generation X-er, might still be on the Court in 2050 if he lives as long as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (now 85). Those who believe that Supreme Court justices have way too much power can be found on both the left and the right; in fact, a 2017 Reuters/Ipsos poll found that ten-year terms for Supreme Court justices were favored by 74% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats. And some prominent Republicans, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul, have expressed their support for Supreme Court term limits.

But imposing term limits on Supreme Court justices would require some very heavy lifting, as the U.S. Constitution specifically states that Supreme Court appointments are lifetime appointments. The Constitution allows Supreme Court justices …read more


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