Joe Biden’s Bonehead Idea

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Joe Biden has a bonehead idea.

In truth, he has dozens, probably hundreds, of bonehead ideas. But he has one such thought that stands out, because he publicly labeled it “bonehead” back in the 1980s. Of course, that’s when his thought process was generally coherent. Usually wrongheaded, but at least intelligible.

The former vice president’s most recent bonehead idea is to “pack” the Supreme Court with leftist justices. This could be done by an act of Congress, which has Constitutional authority to alter the number of sitting justices.

Naturally enough, this court packing scheme is not a concept original to Biden. Instead, it emanated from the most progressive wing of his Democrat Party, which is terrified at the thought of losing control of the federal courts. Since 1962, liberalism has steadily won its unpopular battles in the courts:  driving prayer out of public schools; preventing states from establishing community standards of decency; undermining protections for unborn children; redefining marriage across the nation. Truly, a half century of extreme social liberalism has been mandated by court decisions. Even realistic liberals will quietly concede that their social revolutions could never have taken place without arbitrary court orders overturning the will of the voters. 

Witnessing their longstanding control of the courts rapidly slipping away, leftists are panicking. The quickest route to reestablishing their absolute control of the courts comes via a court-packing scheme. Today, and since 1869, the United States Supreme Court comprises nine justices, one of whom is Chief Justice. Assuming the party holds the U.S. House of Representatives and wins a majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats threaten to add six new liberal justices under a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris Administration. With those six surplus liberals, plus current progressives Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, the left will be guaranteed total control of the Supreme Court through an unassailable eight-justice majority.

Because simultaneous Democrat control of the House, Senate, and presidency are plausible, the question of court packing faces the party standard bearer who will celebrate his 78th birthday on November 20. 

When asked on the campaign trail about his intention to pack the court, Biden has been evasive. “You’ll know my opinion,” he said, evading the issue, “when the election is over.”

Then he unintentionally revealed his dilemma: “You know the moment I answer that question, the headline in every one of your papers will be about that.”

Why such secrecy about an issue of overwhelming public importance? Clearly, Biden fears tipping his hand and facing the wrath of American voters.

With a birth year of 1942, Biden was born during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the last Democrat president who tried to pack the court. In 1937, President Roosevelt proposed the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill with the goal of expanding the Supreme Court for the first time since 1869, when the nation settled on nine as the appropriate number of justices.

Having won a landslide re-election victory in 1936, Roosevelt concocted a bit of a Rube Goldberg proposal that permitted him to appoint one new justice for every sitting justice over the age of 70 years and six months, along with a similar arrangement for lesser federal judges. One wonders what the then 55-year-old FDR might have thought about a 78-year-old president seeking to pack the court with much younger liberal justices. 

We do know what Senator Joe Biden once thought about Roosevelt’s court-packing plan. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 1983, Biden did not mince words. “It was,” he declared, “a bonehead idea.

“It was a terrible,” the Delaware senator reiterated for emphasis, “terrible mistake to make. And it put in question, for an entire decade the independence of the most significant body — including the Congress, in my view — the most significant body in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”

Of course, 1983 was a time when Republicans controlled the presidency and the Senate. Now that even greater unchecked power may be within his own grasp, Biden has shifted his position. Or not. One cannot be certain because he ducks and hides on the issue.

Back in 1937 the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and Roosevelt’s personal popularity sailed sky high. Still, his court-packing plan was sent back to committee by a 70 – 20 vote in the Senate and never voted on by the House. The plan was widely considered the single biggest political blunder of FDR’s presidency. In that era, blue collar Democrats were not of the hard-left variety now led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer; don’t expect similar Congressional restraint should Biden become president. 

On Friday, October 9, just one day after saying “You’ll know my position on court packing when the election is over,” Biden followed up with a bolder straight-arming of the American people, when asked by a Las Vegas KTNV-TV reporter, “Don’t voters deserve to know?”

Biden pushed back hard: “No,” he argued, “they don’t deserve.” 

Then noting the danger in that response, he pivoted to an “I’m not going to play his game” refrain, trying to blame President Donald Trump for his own stubborn unwillingness to answer the most important question now facing the electorate. 

Biden then switched to the health care issue tossing around numbers of 10 million, 20 million, and 100 million persons who he claims are threatened under an Obamacare repeal. Oddly, he then charged Trump with the political dodge-’em ploy that Biden, himself, had just exploited. 

After blatantly switching the issue from court packing to Obamacare, Biden absurdly charged that Trump “always wants to change the subject.” For Joe Biden, another day, another bonehead idea.