The left vs. the Supreme Court of the United States

For many years, the progressive left — which constantly seeks to increase the size and scope of the federal government — has been waging war on the Supreme Court.  Why?  Because, in general, the Supreme Court has historically been a bulwark against the left's quest to increase the power of the federal government.

For instance, in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was livid after the Supreme Court ruled many of his New Deal programs were unconstitutional.  Yet, instead of accepting the fact that the highest court in the land had made its ruling and struck down several of his sweeping federal programs, FDR sought to make the Court bend to his will by "packing" it with judges sympathetic to his big-government agenda.

Fortunately, FDR's "court packing" scheme failed, as it was widely regarded by the American public as a blatant political ploy.

However, in another sense, FDR's "court packing" plan worked to perfection.  Not long after his "court packing" plot hit the presses, a funny thing happened: many of the justices who had been opposed to his constitutionally dubious New Deal programs did an about-face and became rubber stamps for FDR's big-government agenda.

Fast-forward to 2022.

On May 2, for the first time in modern history, a Supreme Court draft opinion was leaked to the media well before the final ruling in the case was set to be released.  Although it is too early to know who leaked the draft opinion, it is not far-fetched to assume that a clerk of one of the four liberal justices is most likely responsible for this enormous breach of trust.

Immediately after the draft opinion went public, a plethora of Democrat politicians and leftist political activists entered DEFCON 3.

Among their first instincts was to resurrect FDR's "court packing" scheme.  Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) put it rather directly: "Expand the court."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took a more indirect jab at the nation's highest court, tweeting, "I am angry because an extremist Supreme Court thinks they can impose their extremist views on all of the women of this country and they are wrong."

Vice President Kamala Harris said the draft opinion shows that "the rights of all Americans are at risk."

Not to be outdone, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued this scathing statement: "Several of these conservative Justices, who are in no way accountable to the American people, have lied to the U.S. Senate, ripped up the Constitution and defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court's reputation."

In reality, the latest calls for "court packing" and the ire expressed by prominent Democrat elected officials over the pending decision, which is not set in stone by any means, are a desperate attempt to intimidate those already on the Court while simultaneously amassing public scorn against the decision itself.

The left is trotting on dangerous territory by resorting to these crass political tactics.

First, they are adding fuel to the already fiery debate over abortion.

Second, they are seeking to delegitimize a co-equal branch of government.

Third, they are actively undermining the rule of law, which is the bedrock of our nation's constitutional structure.

And, fourth, they are shattering the norms that have been established over the past 240 years of American history.

Surely, it is too early to tell if these tactics will be successful over the short term.  However, if history has taught us anything, it is that waging war on the Supreme Court is absolutely part of the radical left's long-term strategy in erecting a highly centralized, all-powerful federal government that is accountable to nothing, not even the Supreme Court.

Chris Talgo ( is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.

Image: Montecruz Foto.

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