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Dems Won't Like This Answer: White House Shares Where Biden Stands on Packing the Supreme Court

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The court has found itself on the receiving end of renewed frustration from Democrats after its conservative majority handed down major decisions in cases involving abortion and the Second Amendment.

However, probably much to progressives’ consternation, President Joe Biden appears not to be going along with the push to attack the court and expand it.

During a press gaggle on Air Force One on Saturday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked, “Is it time, in the president’s view, to think about reforming the Court? And if so, what changes would he like to see?”

“I was asked this question yesterday, and I’ve been asked it before — and I think the president himself about expanding the Court. That is something that the president does not agree with. That is not something that he wants to do,” Jean-Pierre responded.

She noted that Biden put together a commission to expand possible reforms to the court, but added, “I don’t have anything more to share from any final decision that the president has made.”

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called the decision overturning the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade illegitimate, while Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) called for defiance of the court.

Meanwhile, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) tweeted on Friday, “Expand the Supreme Court.”

Given the existing pressure that is likely to grow to expand the court, the easy answer for Biden would be to go along with that push. It would be far more convenient to argue that more Democrats are needed in Congress so they can get rid of the filibuster and pass legislation to increase the number of seats on the Supreme Court — or institute some kind of rotating justice set-up — to protect rights.

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But so far, to his credit, he has resisted any possible urge to attack the court’s legitimacy or the legitimacy of its decisions.

The attacks on the court are, of course, not new. Democratic lawmakers have previously claimed the court’s conservative majority is “illegitimate” or “stolen.” And a poll conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center shows that rhetoric attacking the court is having an impact as it found one-third of Americans said they would consider abolishing the Supreme Court.

To some, talking about norms and upholding institutional integrity may seem like trivial issues when the system delivers an outcome they do not like.

But the reflexive push to make drastic changes ignores the damage it would cause to our system of government and national unity.

If Democrats believe the court’s majority is illegitimate and therefore needs to be expanded, what would stop conservatives from further expanding it to ensure there is a majority that shares their preferred jurisprudence?

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Who would have faith in the Supreme Court if Democrats and Republicans just expanded it whenever they felt it was necessary to get their preferred outcomes?

It would be seen as a broken, purely political institution. No one would listen to its rulings, which would be detrimental to the system of checks and balances as the legislative and executive branches would be given an excuse to ram through their agenda without worrying about what is Constitutional or about protecting the rights of those holding a minority opinion.

At least Biden appears to understand that tinkering with the country’s institutions to get a preferred outcome is a dangerous road that has unforeseen consequences. Good for him for standing up for the court — even if it should be a low bar.

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