Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Senate Eyes Court Packing Scheme

We've pointed out previously how the Senate majority used parliamentary trickeration during the previous administration to deny many highly qualified judicial picks an up-or-down vote on their nominations. So before even filling the existing judicial vacancies, lawmakers apparently want to create more judgeships:
Democrats aren't satisfied with the one-party state in which they control Congress and the White House and can politicize the Justice Department and take over the banking and automotive industries. Now liberal Democrats are pushing a court-packing scheme as well.
A subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on the proposed Federal Judgeship Act of 2009 (S. 1653), which would create positions for 63 new federal judges - 51 in federal district courts and 12 in appeals courts. This proposal is nothing less than a sneaky equivalent of what President Franklin D. Roosevelt tried with his infamous court-packing power grab on the Supreme Court in 1937. The only slight difference is that this attempt is more under the radar.
The Supreme Court has been choosing to consider fewer cases each year. This means the lower courts provide the final disposition for a larger percentage of controversies than ever before. Packing those courts with new, loyal liberals can thus have a huge effect on legal issues without the high profile - and public backlash - of unpopular Supreme Court decisions and fringe appointments to the high court...To create even more positions for Democrats to fill when current high caseloads exist in part because of Democratic intransigence would be like rewarding card sharks for stacking the deck.
If this legislation is not ideological court packing, the Democrats can demonstrate their good faith by first confirming all the hold-over nominations from the previous administration.

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