No matter who wins the Democratic nomination, using the courts as weapon will be on the agenda.
The Democratic candidates vowed to pack the Supreme Court with progressive ideologues and make abortion rights a litmus test for judicial nominees at a forum in New Hampshire Saturday, Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino warned in a Fox News op-ed. The former clerk for Clarence Thomas warned that Democrats are hiding their choices for the top court and that their plans will destroy the rule of law.
Dems vow to pack courts
Democratic candidates, including former mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), all gathered to kiss the ring of the abortion industry at a forum in New Hampshire, “Our Rights, Our Courts,” hosted by NARAL, the oldest abortion group in the country, the Center for Reproductive Rights, All* Above All, and Demand Justice. The theme of the event was clear: how can Democrats reverse president Trump’s success in appointing conservative judges and protect abortion rights?
The frontrunners in the race, namely Buttigieg and Sanders, agreed that reforming the courts to shore up progressive values is a priority. Buttigieg summarized the double-talk and cynicism of the Democrats’ schemes, claiming that America needs a judiciary “that actually reflects the perspective of this country,” and going on to claim that all Americans agree that the government should not regulate abortion. Just moments later, he touted his plans for “structural reform” to ensure neutrality.
The former Indiana mayor suggested creating a “bi-partisan” commission to reform the Supreme Court and expand the number of justices from 9 to 15. Buttigieg seems to have gotten the idea from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose defunct plans to expand the number to 15 have become the modern reference point for the term “court-packing.”
Sanders suggested rotating judges out of the Supreme Court to circuit or district courts, instead of expanding the number of SCOTUS judges. The senator said that the Left must mirror the right-wing Federalist Society and “cultivate” a pipeline of progressive judges. “We will have a list of hundreds of well-qualified judges ready to move as quickly as we possibly can,” Sanders said.
Litmus tests for judges
Not all of the candidates explicitly endorsed court-packing — Warren did not touch on it, despite being among the first candidates to say it’s a “conversation worth having” — but all of the candidates agreed that support for abortion rights must be a litmus test for judicial appointments, something they affirmed in New Hampshire’s debate the night before. While lamenting the politicization of the Supreme Court, Buttigieg vowed to encode Roe v. Wade into law and promised to only appoint nominees who will uphold abortion rights.
“Individual Americans may have different views on where to draw the line,” Buttigieg said, pretending to acknowledge the complexity of the issue, before sharply pivoting to a blanket endorsement of abortion at any time, for any reason. “But we should be able to respect who gets to draw the line, and I trust women to make the best decisions for themselves.”
Buttigieg affirmed support for late-term abortion on the principle of government non-interference. Sanders said that there was no room for pro-life people in the Democratic party and vowed openly to make abortion rights a litmus test.
“The answer is yeah, I do [have a litmus test.] I will never nominate anybody to the Supreme Court or any federal court who is not 100 percent pro-Roe v. Wade. As president, we will move aggressively to codify Roe v. Wade,” Sanders said.
Dems hiding picks?
The Democratic candidates pointedly have not named their Supreme Court picks, unlike Trump did, Severino notes, but Demand Justice’s shortlist includes California’s radical left-wing attorney general Xavier Becerra and Stanford University professor Pamela Karlan, whose rabid anti-Trump testimony in impeachment hearings was criticized.
Buttigieg and Sanders are now the frontrunners in the Democratic race. And both have openly declared that they will use the court as a weapon to force their progressive ideology on the American people. The stakes in 2020 couldn’t be higher.