Former Attorney General Eric Holder urged Democrats on Monday to pack the Supreme Court in response to what he called a crisis of “legitimacy” brought about by the appointment of a conservative majority.
Packing the Court would involve passing legislation to add seats to the nation’s highest judicial body, then using a simple Senate majority to fill the vacancies with liberals.
Holder was addressing a virtual seminar hosted by the Brookings Institution, “Is There a Path Forward for Court Reform?”
The left has shown interest in “reform” since President Donald Trump was able to appoint conservatives to the bench.
Holder began his presentation with what he called “three realities.” First, he said, “Democrats and progressives, are, and have been, uncomfortable with the acquisition and the use of power.” Republicans and conservatives, he said, were not.
Second, he said, the Supreme Court and other courts had been “political bodies.”
And third, he said, the Supreme Court had largely upheld the status quo in its decisions, “sometimes in a way that is inimical to our founding ideals.”
He said that the federal courts were stacked with “ideologues who consistently reach rulings based on their stunted mindsets.”
The recent appointments by the Trump administration, Holder claimed, had “sowed doubt” about judicial independence. (He did not mention the fact that the federal courts, including Trump’s own appointees, rejected his election challenges.)
Holder claimed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had blocked the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court using a justification made up from “thin air” — ignoring that they cited the “Biden rule” once proposed by the new president himself, under which he said presidents should avoid appointments in the middle of an election year.
If Garland had been confirmed, he said, there would have been a liberal majority and four years of “progressive” decisions. He also said Republicans had broken their own rule when confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Court last year.
Therefore, Holder said, Democrats “must use the power that they now have.” He added: “I believe it would be totally appropriate to add additional seats to the Supreme Court, in response to what has transpired over the past few years.”
Holder also supported the idea of an 18-year term limit for Supreme Court justices, rather than lifetime appointments. He backed a minimum age of 50 years old for a judge to qualify, and said there should be greater diversity on the bench.
President Biden declined to take a position on packing the court last year, saying he would appoint a commission to study the issue for the first six months of his term. Both parties have rejected expanding the Supreme Court for over a century.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.