The independence of the Supreme Court is crucial to preserving the original meaning of the Constitution and preventing a radical transformation of our laws and our country.

But with Democrats in control of the White House and slim majorities in the House and Senate, not only are basic rights like the right to life under daily assault, the very foundations of America are threatened like never before.

President Joe Biden last month announced a 36-member commission to study potential “reforms” for the Supreme Court, including possibly increasing the number of justices on it.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., have proposed legislation to increase the number of justices from nine to 13. Conveniently—though not coincidentally—for Democrats, four new justices would mean there would then be seven  justices appointed by Democratic presidents, compared with six appointed by Republican presidents.

This court-packing scheme is a thinly veiled power grab to undermine judicial independence and our fundamental rights and freedoms.

If the Supreme Court were to be increased to 13 justices, Biden would likely nominate the most radical judges possible. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has revealed his willingness to destroy the Senate filibuster to confirm them, pushing the judiciary to the extreme left for generations.

Indeed, Democratic leaders distort the role of the judicial branch in our constitutional system. Judges are supposed to interpret and apply the law as written without regard to their personal opinions. But unfortunately, Democrats have come to view the Supreme Court as a superlegislature, made up of policymakers, not impartial judges. 

The language that congressional Democrats use when they talk about the judiciary is radically inconsistent with the Framers’ intent for the third, co-equal branch of government.

Democrats evaluate judges based on partisan outcomes and who benefits from their rulings. That’s wrong. The only thing a judge should consider is what the Constitution and laws require.

A litigant’s fortunes should not depend on which political party’s president appointed the judge. Rather, the equal application of the law should triumph above all. 

Even the late liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opposed court-packing. “Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time. I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court,” she said.

Justice Stephen Breyer, also a liberal, likewise warned: “It is wrong to think of the court as another political institution. And it is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians.”

But because so many leading Democrats are deeply beholden to the abortion lobby and other fringe voices within their party, they willfully misconstrue the law and the function of judges, seeking to appoint ideologues who will impose their own policy preferences on issues such as abortion and the integrity of our elections, contrary to the will of the American people.

A packed Supreme Court would expand and enshrine abortion on demand, at any point in the pregnancy. It could also strike down popular, commonsense protections such as voter ID requirements that ensure elections are free and fair, and much more.

As Democrats aim to undermine our institutions to get their way, Republicans must fight to preserve them. The selection of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett showed that President Donald Trump kept his promise to govern as the most pro-life president ever, to stand up for freedom, and to nominate serious constitutionalists to the Supreme Court.

We need to keep up the fight, be bold, and build on Trump’s judicial legacy.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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