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History Repeats

In the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes says “there’s nothing new under the sun.” That’s been proven true time and time again. In 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt attempted to “pack the court.” During Roosevelt’s first term in office, the Supreme Court struck down many of his New Deal proposals, deeming them as unconstitutional. After winning re-election, Roosevelt vowed to alter the court to try to shove through his agenda. He introduced legislation to increase the number of justices and explained this to the American people on one of his fireside chats. The American people weren’t buying what Roosevelt was selling. The plan proved to be incredibly unpopular, failed to pass through Congress and went down as one of the biggest failures of Roosevelt’s presidency.


But, neglecting this historic lesson, the “packing the court” plan is back today. Vice President Joe Biden was asked this past week at the first presidential debate if he supported the court. He refused to answer the question. Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s Vice Presidential candidate has been asked this question before, and her response: “I’m absolutely open to it.”


DC Democrats are upset with the timing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. It comes at the onset of an election which they are hopeful of winning, allowing them to gain control of judicial nominations. DC Democrats say that if Republicans fulfill their constitutional duty before the election by replacing Justice Ginsburg’s vacancy with President Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, they’ll “pack the court.”


In the minds of DC Democrats, the seats would be filled by liberal justices sympathetic to their socialist agenda. Currently the Supreme Court sits at nine justices. Proponents of court packing have suggested this number could be increased to 11, 13 or even 15. 


For centuries, the Supreme Court has remained apolitical. Justices aren’t on cable news giving interviews. They interpret the law, rule on the constitutionality of the case before them and stay out of politics. Historically and by design, justices have made an effort to avoid legislating from the bench. Packing the court instantly transforms the Supreme Court into a political body and erodes the court’s integrity. If DC Democrats are able to successfully pack the court, the Supreme Court could become a vehicle to turn agenda into law - think Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and threats to Second Amendment rights.


Unfortunately, packing the court is just one of the DC Democrats’ revolutionary plans to fundamentally change our democracy.  They are also committed to eliminating the filibuster and to Washington, D.C., statehood.


The filibuster is a big, fancy Washington word but it really just refers to a historic Senate process that leads to bipartisanship and compromise by allowing the minority to stall the debate. Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D - N.Y.) has said, “As for the filibuster, I’m not busting my chops to become majority leader to do very little or nothing. We are going to get a whole lot done. And as I’ve said, everything, everything is on the table.”


I’ll admit the filibuster rule is frustrating for those of us who would like to see legislation move more quickly, but it’s a Senate tradition rooted in the Founder’s vision of bipartisan compromise. Eliminating the filibuster gives the majority the procedural ability to pass one-party, unrepresentative votes. This, in turn, paves the way for packing the Supreme Court and Washington, D.C., statehood.


If the District of Columbia is granted independent statehood, DC Democrats believe they will have two more senators voting in their favor. In fact, the Pelosi-controlled House of Representatives has already passed legislation providing the District of Columbia with statehood.


Again, a little history lesson. In the Federalist papers Number 43, James Madison argued that the nation’s capital needed to be separate from the states, saying, “…but a dependence of the members of the general government on the State comprehending the seat of the government…might bring on the national councils an imputation of awe or influence, equally dishonorable for the government and dissatisfactory to the other members of the Confederacy.” Madison makes the point that the national capital being located in a state may provide that state with unjust or unequal influence.


For South Dakota and America, the “filibuster,” although annoying, guarantees compromise. Packing the Supreme Court will destroy our economy and way of life. DC statehood would guarantee both.