by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Ray Nothstine writes for the Fayetteville Observer that Democrats in North Carolina should be strong opponents of plans to pack the U.S. Supreme Court.
After Gov. Pat McCrory was defeated by Democrat challenger Roy Cooper in the November 2016 election, rumors began swirling that Republicans would move swiftly to pack the state’s Supreme Court. According to the state constitution, the GOP-controlled General Assembly could have added up to two seats — going from seven to nine.
Democrats and left-wing activists went ballistic. Protests erupted at the capitol building in Raleigh, while political ads and editorials swiftly denounced the rumored court-packing scheme. Democrat appointees controlled North Carolina’s high court and immediately pounced on the supposed effort to add any judges. The proposal never materialized, yet concerns over adding justices were justified.
Fast forward to today. Many N.C. Democrat lawmakers — if not outright proponents for packing the U.S. Supreme Court — are at the very least silent on the issue. What’s more, nearly all state House Democrats voted against the “Keep Nine” amendment to the U.S. Constitution in May of 2021.
One member spoke against the amendment by noting that some of the current justices were appointed by presidents that did not win the popular vote. But we don’t elect presidents by popular vote. The Electoral College elects presidents. …
… Court packing would threaten all our civil liberties, including our Constitutional protections for religious freedom. Much of the effort to pack the courts stems from a desire to further erode religious liberty and speech protections in favor of a secular and politically progressive agenda unmoored from America’s first principles guaranteed by the First Amendment. …
… The U.S. Supreme Court has had nine justices since 1869. Thankfully, President Joe Biden has expressed skepticism towards frantic efforts by his party in favor of court packing. Many North Carolinians and state Democrats rightfully stood against attempts to add justices to the state supreme court for partisan purposes just four years ago.