Patriots: For over 25 years, your generosity has made it possible to offer The Patriot Post without a subscription fee to military personnel, students, and those with limited means. Please support the 2022 Independence Day Campaign today.

Marc A. Thiessen / September 4, 2019

Senate Democrats’ Unprecedented Threat Against the Supreme Court

In 2017, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., accused President Trump of showing “a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn’t always bend to his wishes” after Trump criticized a federal judge who ruled against his administration.

In 2017, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., accused President Trump of showing “a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn’t always bend to his wishes” after Trump criticized a federal judge who ruled against his administration. Senate Democrats, by contrast, have launched an unprecedented attempt to actually bend the Supreme Court to their wishes — threatening to restructure the court if the justices do not rule as they see fit.

The threat came over the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a challenge to New York City’s restrictions on how gun owners who have residential permits can transport their guns. In a legal brief, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., argued that the case against New York was moot because it had rescinded the gun regulations in question. Fair enough. It is perfectly fine for the senators to make legal arguments in a legal brief to the court.

What is not acceptable is openly threatening the court with political retribution if it does not rule a certain way. That is precisely what these Senate Democrats did. “The Supreme Court is not well,” they wrote. “And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured to reduce the influence of politics.’” As all 53 Senate Republicans wrote in a letter to the court last week, “the implication is as plain as day: Dismiss the case, or we’ll pack the Court.”

Talk about disdain for an independent judiciary! Can you imagine if Trump issued such a preemptive threat? Heads would explode. And in contrast to Trump’s impulsive Twitter rants, the Democrats issued their threat in a carefully crafted legal brief submitted to the court. They thought this through and decided that blackmailing the Supreme Court was a good idea.

Not only was their brief inappropriate; it also was brimming with cognitive dissonance. The Democrats accused the Supreme Court of being too political, but their plan to “reduce the influence of politics” on the court is to have senators order the justices how to decide or face political consequences? What utter hypocrisy.

Keep in mind that these are not backbenchers. Among the signatories to the brief is Durbin, the second-ranking Democratic leader in the Senate. He should know that the Supreme Court is an equal branch of government that does not answer to the Senate, much less its minority.

The Democrats justify their unprecedented intimidation tactics by pointing out that since 2005, the court has issued 78 5-to-4 or 5-to-3 opinions in which Republican appointees provided all five votes in the majority. “With bare partisan majorities,” they declared, “the Court has influenced sensitive areas like voting rights, partisan gerrymandering, dark money, union power, regulation of pollution, corporate liability, and access to federal court, particularly regarding civil rights and discrimination in the workplace. Every single time, the corporate and Republican political interests prevailed.”

Give me a break. In each of the cases to which they object, the liberal bloc voted in unison as well. Were they behaving as a “partisan” minority? Senate Democrats would have no problem with these 5-to-4 decisions if they had been decided by a liberal majority. Their complaint is not with the rise of “political influence” on the court, but rather with their lack of political influence on the court.

The judicial left has gone off the deep end because it is losing its battle for an activist liberal court. When Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016, they saw a once-in-a-lifetime chance to shift the ideological direction of the court for a generation. By appointing two conservative justices, Trump has thwarted those dreams. And now they are worried, due to concerns over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health, that Trump might get a third appointment. So, many Democrats are now openly talking about adding more justices if they gain power.

Those threats will backfire, because they dramatically raise the stakes in the 2020 election. In 2016, over a quarter of Trump voters said that the Supreme Court was the most important factor in their decision to support him. With Trump already having secured a conservative majority on the court, his ability to appoint justices was shaping up to be a less powerful argument this time around. But now that Democrats have threatened to pack the court with liberal judges if they win the White House and the Senate, the Supreme Court will once again be front and center. For the president, this is a massive stroke of luck.

© 2019, The Washington Post Writers Group

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.