Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has endorsed a plan crafted by one of his former Harvard classmates to reverse the conservative shift of the Supreme Court by packing it with five additional justices.
The policy was detailed in a Boston Globe profile on Saturday that explored how Buttigieg’s Harvard connections helped boost his political career (“Mayor Pete and the Order of the Kong: How Buttigieg’s Harvard pals helped spur his rise in politics“).
The profile highlighted Buttigieg’s policy toward the Supreme Court, which he first floated during a CNN town hall:
[Ganesh] Sitaraman, a constitutional law professor and longtime adviser to Senator Elizabeth Warren, inspired one of the few original policy proposals of Buttigieg’s candidacy thus far.
At the CNN town hall in March, Buttigieg floated his friend’s idea of transforming the Supreme Court by expanding the size of the court and directing the Republican-appointed justices and the Democrat-appointed justices to unanimously pick another five justices from the lower courts to join them. Sitaraman’s idea, which he published in the Yale Law Journal, is to depoliticize the court by forcing the court’s liberal and conservative members to agree on new judges. “If we want to save that institution, I think we better be ready to tune it up as well,” Buttigieg told voters in New Hampshire.
While claiming that the plan would “depoliticize” the Court, the idea of adding additional judges has been floated by Democrats as a way to reverse the impact of President Donald Trump’s nominations, which have created a conservative majority.
Ironically, Democrats rejected a plan to pack the Court when proposed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s. The wildly popular New Deal president faced resistance from his own party when he sought to overcome the conservative jurisprudence of the Court, which had struck down many of his programs as unconstitutional, by packing it with more sympathetic appointees. Eventually, the Court itself buckled under the pressure, approving vast expansions of government power (a shift remembered ever since as the “switch in time that saved nine”).
The court-packing scheme is another sign that while some of Buttigieg’s policies strike a somewhat moderate tone — for example, he wants Medicare to be available to all, but not required for all — many of his ideas are staunchly left-wing.
On Friday, Buttigieg supported the idea of renaming institutions and events named for Thomas Jefferson, the third president and primary author of the Declaration of Independence. On Saturday, he rebuffed President Trump’s acceptance of his marriage to his husband, Chasten Glazman. Buttigieg has also courted the support of racist and antisemite Al Sharpton, and his policy proposals include Sharpton’s demand for a commission to study reparations for slavery.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.