“All eyes on Georgia.” That’s what we are repeatedly hearing as the January runoffs near. The newsletters and op-eds keep saying that the Democrats flipping the Senate would be a disaster. I agree. They say that an unchecked Biden administration would cave to all of the worst impulses of the radical left. Right again.
What conservative voices are not saying enough, though, is that those “worst impulses” are not merely a matter of administrative policy. Some of them strike right at the heart of our republic and threaten our liberty in ways we have not seen for almost a century.
When President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barret to replace the late Justice Ginsburg, Democrats took to an old theme. They repeatedly claimed that the enemies were at the gates, that the very destruction of all we hold dear is at hand. The danger is so great, you see, that anything is justified in fighting this enemy. Put simply: the ends justify the means.
The Democratic solution to supposed Republican overreach was to strongly consider court-packing. This term was and is misused so often that it is worth taking a moment to review the situation and what “court-packing” actually means.
To begin, the main supposed danger was that nominating and confirming a Supreme Court justice during an election year broke precedent. However, that is not true. 29 such vacancies have occurred, and presidents nominated replacements every time, with 18 of them confirmed. This is a fact that many people on both sides seem to remember only when it suits them. So much for the pressing threat to democracy.
Democrats also began referring to the nomination of a justice in an election year as “court-packing,” a move that can only be described as ignorant or dishonest. I leave it to you to decide which. “Court-packing” means expanding the number of justices on a court to achieve a political end. That is what the term has meant since it was last tried under FDR.
In 1937, Roosevelt tried to pack the court in order to avoid challenges to his most expansive New Deal programs. He failed to do so because his own party—the Democratic Party—refused and condemned his effort in stark terms.
The days of such clear-sightedness have long since passed for the Democrats. They now see Georgia as a path to gaining power. They are the truly educated; they know better than you or I how life should best be lived, and our resistance to their direction is a mark of our irrationality. That mentality is a far cry from the party seeking to preserve a government of laws rather than men.
A Republican Senate provides what the core of the Democratic Party hates but what America desperately needs: a check on political power. Without such institutional safeguards, liberty evaporates like water in deserts.
The Supreme Court is meant to be impartial. The reasoning behind a lifetime appointment is that political concerns are of no consequence to a person with absolute job security. That independence has generated an enormous amount of public support for the Court, and it is the reason it can adjudicate so many messy cases, such as deciding the winner of a presidential election.
Expanding the court alters the nature of the institution and destroys the power it has to adjudicate disputes fairly. Even Justice Ginsburg thought court-packing was a terrible idea. If the Notorious RBG, to whom many on the left say their political rosary, recognizes the danger of a partisan court, alarm bells should be clanging…loudly.
If Senators Perdue and Loeffler lose their bids for reelection, then all bets are off. Those pesky originalists on the court—the people who think that laws should be understood based on their meaning when written (fools, I know)—will be a stumbling block for progress. In true progressive fashion, all such obstacles must be removed. The grand vision of righting all wrongs demands it.
What’s more, once the court-packing precedent is set, both sides will alter the court’s composition whenever expediency calls for it. Political power will only grow. The ideal of a limited government protecting the rights of individuals will fail.
I do not want to imply that Republican losses will trigger some kind of Y2K-style disaster. The slow fall to tyranny will take time. However, it will be as sure as the sun rising. At least, that is what history teaches us.
Our prosperity has made us feel safe in America, but wait until the levers of power have no safeguards and are pulled by the same people who have done such a fine job of getting us into this mess in the first place. When that happens, COVID will be the least of our concerns. And, horrifyingly enough, it all hinges on a couple of races in Georgia.