The Democrats are undertaking a full court press in an effort to transform the American form of government into their big-government dream. Their latest push includes an effort to pack the Supreme Court with what would be four liberal justices and a push to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate.
In doing so, the Washington Democrats are channeling the worst of their patron saint, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (“FDR”).
Few know that when FDR was campaigning for president against Herbert Hoover, FDR ridiculed Hoover for excessive “socialist” spending. In response to the stock market crash of 1929, Hoover had increased federal spending from $3 billion per year to $4 billion per year. In today’s dollars, that would be $63 billion per year—yes, that’s how small our government was pre-New Deal.
After his victory, when FDR became president, he did an about-face and dwarfed Hoover’s record $4 billion per year spending with New Deal and War spending that reached $39 billion per year.
In order to get his way, the Democrats of the age discarded traditional constitutional practice and, for his part, FDR outright bullied the Supreme Court.
Few remember that FDR’s first New Deal legislative package was rejected by the Supreme Court. It was declared unconstitutional.
They stated that “extraordinary conditions may call for extraordinary remedies. But the argument necessarily stops short of an attempt to justify action which lies outside the sphere of constitutional authority.”
Clearly, the Supreme Court of that time, like our founders, didn’t believe the Constitution provided for central planning government.
FDR, however, wasn’t interested in such “legalisms.” On the contrary, FDR asserted that Americans “cannot seriously be alarmed when they cry ‘unconstitutional’ at every effort to better the condition of our people.”
According to FDR, “We will no longer be permitted to sacrifice each generation in turn while the law catches up with life.”
The law that FDR thought needed to catch up was the Constitution. He demanded that it be changed to fit his big-government agenda. FDR believed he knew better than all those who had gone before and, therefore, the Constitution of greater than 140 years shouldn’t be an impediment.
He then set about pressuring the Supreme Court by proposing legislation that came to be known as FDR’s court-packing scheme. He was eventually rewarded for his bullying when one justice retired and another flipped his vote. The New Deal then became law, and the United States has never been the same. The New Deal paved the way for the largest expansion of government in our history.
To be sure, the current Washington Democrats have studied FDR.
They have no intention of allowing legalisms to get in their way. The law will not be a serious impediment for them.
They’re willing to disregard the filibuster to push through record spending. If they have to, instead of proposing a spending bill and subjecting it to a vote of the House and a possible Senate filibuster, they will use a legal sleight of hand, the reconciliation process, to “pass” the law by a majority vote.
As for the Supreme Court, Democrat Senate leader Chuck Schumer already threatened the Supreme Court in early 2020, which threat even got the pliable Chief Justice John Roberts to cry foul.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, despite years of lambasting court-packing schemes, candidate Joe Biden refused to answer whether he would support the plan of some Democrats to pack the Court. Now that he is in office, Joe Biden’s intent is clear—he created a commission to “study” the idea.
The threat to the Supreme Court is palpable and some would say it’s having an effect on their decisions already.
Will enough Democrats go along with a plan to pack the Supreme Court? Or will the likes of Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema follow Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s warning against making the Supreme Court a political branch of government and balk at such a disruptive tactic?
Only time will tell, but given the breakneck speed Democrats are moving to push their immigration, Green New Deal, and spending policies, thoughtful reflection seems out of the question for them.
On the contrary, they know their policies aren’t popular with a majority of Americans. They also know that even if they lose the House in two years, their big government spending programs will remain. That is the real victory they seek.
As for the Constitution, in their mind, it will just have to catch up. For the rest of us, however, it is the constitutional test of our lifetime.
Thomas Del Beccaro is an acclaimed author, speaker, Fox News, Fox Business, and Epoch Times opinion writer, and former chairman of the California Republican Party. He is the author of the historical perspectives “The Divided Era” and “The New Conservative Paradigm.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.