Campus Reform | U Chicago prof: Voters 'don't deserve' answer on court-packing from Joe Biden

U Chicago prof: Voters 'don't deserve' answer on court-packing from Joe Biden

A University of Chicago law professor argued in a Washington Post op-ed that the American people "don't deserve" a straight answer from Joe Biden on court-packing.

He said that while it is a "dreadful option," Biden shouldn't rule it out.

Article image

Daniel Hemel, a law professor at the University of Chicago, argued that court-packing is a viable and plausible political strategy.

Hamel, in a Washington Post op-edargued that while court-packing is a “dreadful option,” Joe Biden “shouldn’t rule it out,” and said that the American people “don’t deserve” a straightforward answer from Biden on the issue of court-packing.

“Actually, we — the American people — don’t deserve a straight answer on court-packing. Biden and Harris are doing precisely the right thing by declining to back court-packing while also declining to take it off the table,” Hemel wrote.

Instead, he argued that “it’s Trump and Pence who are jeopardizing the court’s democratic legitimacy by demanding an anti-packing pledge.”
“‘Court-packing’ — adding justices to the Supreme Court to alter its ideological composition — is hardly a newfangled notion,” Hamel wrote.

He then gave a lengthy history lesson of the changes to the number of justices in the first 80 years of the country's history. He claimed these fluctuations justify court-packing in the modern era, despite the court size remaining the same since 1869.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Students oppose Amy Coney Barrett nomination...but also Democrats packing Supreme Court]

Hamel argued that court-packing “hovers” over the court and ensures they don't make decisions that are “radically at odds with small-d democratic preferences.” Taking it away, he argues, would allow, “justices to decide individual cases to their liking.”

Hamel argued that taking away the option of court-packing would, “saddle the justices” with a heavy burden, which, in that case, would make it where justices “struggle to justify its authority in light of the nation’s democratic commitments.”

Further, he argued that Biden and Harris would “do no one any favors by forswearing the possibility” of court-packing.

Hamel argued that the mere threat of court-packing “connects the court to the electorate.”

[RELATED: Berkeley law school dean: Democrats would be 'justified' in packing the Supreme Court]

These comments come in the face of a national debate over the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As President Donald Trump filled her seat, adding Justice Amy Coney Barrett, some Democrats called for adding seats to the Supreme Court.

Former Vice President Joe Biden refused to take a stance on the issue, arguing that voters "don’t deserve” to know his stance. However, in the town hall on Oct 15, Biden said that "it depends on how this turns out" and "on how much they rushed this.”

Hemel and the University of Chicago did not respond in time for publication.