This post, Recycling Bad Ideas, by Kent Scheidegger, first appeared on at http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/.
During his three-and-a-fraction terms as President, Franklin Roosevelt mostly steamrollered his political opponents and got most of what he wanted. Even one of the most formidable politicians in American history, though, lost one political battle badly and was sent running away with his tail between his legs. That was his notorious plan to “pack” the Supreme Court. FDR got no appointments during his first term and had a valid gripe against what we now call “judicial activism.” Even so, a Congress controlled by his own party and mostly sympathetic to his views thought the end did not justify the means.
Fast forward eight decades. Reid Epstein and Ken Thomas report for the WSJ:
A few candidates are embracing ideas long seen as on the edge of liberal politics: abolishing the Electoral College and adding up to a half-dozen justices to the Supreme Court.
Given that it only takes 13 states to block a constitutional amendment and a lot more than 13 would have their influence diminished by abolishing the Electoral College, it’s pretty safe to say that one is a non-starter. (The jurisdiction most diminished by that change would be the District of Columbia, but it doesn’t have a vote in constitutional amendments.)
Changing the number of justices requires only a simple statute. If the Democrats take full control in 2020, could they and would they take another stab at FDR’s biggest flop? Stay tuned.