Democratic senators have been dodging the question of “court-packing” for the last several days, but even silence might not save them.
The trouble started when President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. To liberal voters, this signified the end of their dominance in the Supreme Court and the beginning of a 6 to 3 conservative ascendancy in the court. Predictably, they went wild.
One of the solutions that liberal activists came up with was court-packing, a discredited strategy to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court. Notably, court-packing was suggested by Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s but was met with such massive public disapproval that the idea was abandoned.
Not dissuaded by the example of history, Democrats have hinted that court-packing is on the agenda if they win in 2020. The problem for them is that court-packing is massively unpopular. It’s rightly perceived as changing the rules after you lose the game. Which is why Democrats need to hide their plan until after the election.
Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have refused to answer questions about whether they’ll attempt to pack the court. That may or may not be a successful strategy for them, but it could have devastating effects on the campaigns of Democratic challengers for the Senate.
John Fund writes for National Review:
Court packing may not be the deciding issue in the presidential race. But it could be in close Senate races where several Democratic candidates are imitating Biden’s silence and being pummeled for it by effective GOP opponents.
In Maine, Democratic candidate Sara Gideon won’t rule out backing a court-packing plan. Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper gave an embarrassing non-answer in his debate this past week with Republican senator Cory Gardner. Iowa Democrat Theresa Greenfield was once opposed to court packing but now can’t be pinned down on the issue in her race against GOP senator Joni Ernst.
The chances of Democrats winning a Senate majority for Democrats are up in the air because of court packing.