Thursday, August 20, 2020

Liberals Counter President Trump With 'radical' Court-Packing Agenda

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Liberal activists made an overhaul of the federal judiciary, including court-packing, part of the 2020 platform adopted this week at the Democratic National Convention.
The platform’s call for “structural court reforms” is short on specifics, but advocacy groups have begun recruiting liberal judicial candidates for a court-packing agenda in a potential Biden administration next year.
Every president appoints federal judges to fill vacancies, but liberal activists have lobbied for years to expand the number of federal judges when Democrats take the White House, enabling them to tilt the federal bench markedly to the left.
In 2016, the Democratic Party platform made a fleeting reference to the federal judiciary. It said Democrats would install judges defending “liberty and equality for all,” particularly on the issues of abortion and billionaires’ purported influence over elections.
Buckling under pressure from liberal activists, who are furious about President Trump’s 200-plus judicial appointments, Democratic Party officials incorporated the court-packing agenda.
“Since 1990, the United States has grown by one-third, the number of cases in federal district courts has increased by 38 percent, federal circuit court filings have risen by 40 percent, and federal cases involving a felony defendant are up 60 percent, but we have not expanded the federal judiciary to reflect this reality in nearly 30 years,” reads the 2020 platform document. “Democrats will commit to creating new federal district and circuit judgeships consistent with recommendations from the Judicial Conference.”
Liberal activists celebrated the Democrats’ commitment to creating more judgeships as the party establishment finally accepted calls for court-packing.
Brian Fallon, executive director of liberal judicial advocacy group Demand Justice, labeled the move a “historic call” and took credit on Twitter for helping to push Democrats to the left on efforts to pack the federal judiciary.
Mr. Fallon, who was a top aide to 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, called for expanding the Supreme Court and other federal courts and led attacks on Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court in 2018.
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