- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 9, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Eric Holder, who just announced he wasn’t making a run for the White House in 2020, came out and told Democrats they ought to “seriously consider” adding a couple seats to the U.S. Supreme Court to counter what he called Senate Majority Mitch McConnell’s “power-grabbing antics.”

This is rich.

What the former Obama attorney general is really saying here is that Democrats, who couldn’t win a political majority at the ballot boxes, ought to grab power from the Republicans by un-Americanly grabbing power at the nation’s highest courts so their specially selected judicial activists, in turn, could moot — that is, grab — the powers of the duly elected Republicans.

Speak no more, Eric Holder.

You just gave Republicans one of the best political talking points for the coming elections. Once again, just like when President Donald Trump ran for the high office, it’s become all about the courts.

Holder, speaking at Yale Law School just this past week, said that if he were president, he would “seriously consider adding two seats to the Supreme Court to make up for Mitch McConnell’s power-grabbing antics,” Fox News reported.

And since Holder’s not running, what he is really saying is that Democrats in general, and a Democratic president in specific, ought to consider doing the same.

Well, check the history books and guess what: this is a radical leftist “been there, done that” agenda. In 1937, after struggling to obtain a constitutional thumbs-up for key portions of his over-the-top progressive-slash-socialist New Deal plan, the then-president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, proposed adding more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court — justices in line with his own political views.

“Critics immediately charged that Roosevelt was trying to ‘pack’ the court and thus neutralize Supreme Court justices hostile to his New Deal,” History.com recounts.

Roosevelt supporters denied that accusation and said the president was simply trying to push justices over the age of 70 into retiring, and that his proposal called only for the appointment of judicial “assistants,” rather than full-fledged judges.

But — and this is a big but: These “assistants” would’ve had the same voting rights as the other justices.

Moreover, Roosevelt’s timing was suspicious. His proposal coincidentally came right after the Supreme Court slapped back key aspects of his New Deal, calling them clear cases of executive overreaches, and right after he handily won reelection. Court-packing? It would seem so. Besides, the Supreme Court itself took Roosevelt’s proposal seriously enough so that even before Congress had a chance to vote on it, a couple of the justices moved left and upheld his congressionally unpopular National Labor Relations Act and his Social Security Act.

The Senate, shortly after, voted against Roosevelt’s proposed court seat additions. But at the time, so what? Historians can argue and hash out the behind-scenes’ motivations and drama that marked this political history all they want. But, fact is, in the end, Roosevelt got his way. His agenda was ram-rodded to fruition.

Now comes Holder, bringing up the same court-packing idea — only unlike Roosevelt, he’s not even bothering to pretend his concern is with the retirement ages of the justices. Holder’s openly calling on Democrats to manipulate the nation’s highest court for political purposes — to stifle, for the long-term, conservative agendas. Conservative agendas that have been duly approved by voters, by the way.

This is an outrage.

But it’s an outrage Republicans can use to advantage.

After all, one of Trump’s biggest chinks in the Democrats’ election-time armor was the reminder to voters, particularly to evangelical and Christian voters, of the need to keep the courts from falling to progressive, secular control.

Holder, with his FDR-like bull-doggery and his arrogant plea to seize control of the judiciary, has just handed Republicans a winning platform to keep the White House in the Republican camp. The GOP’s winning White House ticket? 

It’s all about the courts. It’s all about the integrity and make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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