by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Now that the Supreme Court has granted review in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Democratic politicians and left-wing dark-money groups are ramping up their threats to increase the size of the Court.
Of course, the Left’s Court-packing threats are nothing new. In recent years, we have seen the bullying extend to sitting justices in the Democrats’ quest for Supreme Court decisions that advance their agenda.
In August 2019, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, along with some of his Democratic colleagues, filed an amicus brief in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, which involved a Second Amendment challenge to New York City’s gun law, threatening the Court: “Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.” …
… Recall that last year, then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer notoriously stood in front of the Supreme Court building and threatened two justices by name: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch! I want to tell you, Kavanaugh! You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price! You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” He did this the day the Supreme Court held oral argument in last term’s abortion case, June Medical Services v. Russo.
Under fire, Schumer later clarified that he was not threatening the justices’ physical safety, but only asserting that “there would be political consequences.” …
… The bullying campaigns from the Left extend to the very decision of sitting justices whether to retire. We are seeing that play out now with respect to Stephen Breyer, the Court’s oldest justice, who is the target of an unseemly dark-money-funded “Breyer Retire” campaign.