Back in 1983, a U.S. senator referred to FDR’s court-packing plan as a “bonehead idea” and said “it was a terrible, terrible mistake to make.” In 2005, that same senator said Roosevelt was “corrupted by power” when he pushed his court-packing plan on Congress and the American people. Fourteen years later, in 2019, the same person again commented on court packing saying, “No, I’m not prepared to go on and try to pack the court, because we’ll live to rue that day.” That senator was none other than the current president.
That’s right. The same guy who repeatedly derided the idea of packing the court, calling it “bone-headed” is now eating his own words and creating a commission to study packing the United States Supreme Court with four new members.
“Bone-headed” doesn’t begin to describe this idea.
You might be asking yourself, what has changed since 1983, or 2005, or even last year? What’s changed is that the court has three new justices appointed over the last four years and our current president doesn’t seem to like it. Nor does an increasingly vocal part of his party who want the court majority back in their hands — and packing the court seems to be their plan to do it.
The president’s plan is likely headed for the same fate as FDR’s over 80 years ago, thrown on the heap pile of “bonehead” ideas. But, the fact that it is even being proposed, that it is even being considered signals rough days ahead for those who believe in the rule of law and that our Constitution is an ironclad document, a contract with the American people that can’t be changed when it doesn’t fit the interests of whoever is in power in Washington, D.C. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is a dangerous tactic and would have a destabilizing effect on our system of government and destroy what trust people have left in our government institutions.
When the president said they would live to “rue the day” they tried to pack the court, it was a moment of clarity. He was right. If the court is nothing but a political football, what’s to stop the other party from expanding the court further when they retake Congress? What’s to stop them from contracting the court? Right now, it seems our First and Second Amendment rights are already under attack. If they can pack the court, what’s to stop them from throwing out parts of the Constitution that don’t fit their agenda? In a world where other radical ideas like “Defund the Police” and the Green New Deal are not just proposed, but actively embraced by some elected officials, that’s a scary thought.
It’s a “bonehead idea” indeed and, if it does happen, the president’s words will come true, they will rue the day.
If you have any ideas, questions and concern, please feel free to contact me at the State Capitol: (573) 751-2108, firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Sen. Rick Brattin, Missouri State Capitol, Room 331, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
God bless and thank you for the opportunity to work for you in the Missouri Senate