- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 15, 2021

The new push to pack the Supreme Court is creating unwanted headaches for centrist Democrats eyeing reelection in the 2022 midterms.

Rep. Cindy Axne got an immediate taste of what’s to come Thursday when the Iowa GOP called on the Democrat to pick a side in the legislative battle.

“Axne’s weak-kneed approach to her party bosses needs to end here,” said Kollin Crompton, spokesperson for the Iowa Republican Party. “The Supreme Court is our most respected and admired institution, and it must stay that way. Democrats will do anything to consolidate their power in D.C. because they are afraid of Iowa voters holding them accountable in 2022. This move proves that. It puts our democracy at risk in the name of absolute control.”

The criticism came as Democratic lawmakers prepared to introduce legislation in Congress to increase the number of seats on the Supreme Court from 9 to 13.

The announcement was met with great fanfare from far-left activists frustrated with the 6-3 conservative majority in the high court.

It was less thrilling for centrist Democrats who would like to avoid getting pulled into a partisan firefight over the court ahead of midterms that are historically bad for the party of the sitting president.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released late last year found that likely voters opposed increasing the size of the Supreme court by a 58%-31% margin.

While 57% of Democrats supported the idea, 89% of Republicans and 65% of independents lined up against it.

For his part, President Biden has yet to join the calls to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

Indeed, as a member of the Senate, he once described the idea as “bone-headed.”

Last week, however, Mr. Biden took a step in that direction after he announced the establishment of a commission to study Supreme Court reforms.

The move was widely viewed as an attempt to placate the party’s left wing and look into the pros and cons of “packing” the court.

The legislation unveiled Thursday sparked immediate and fierce pushback from Republicans, as well as a flurry of fundraising activity.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a vocal critic of court packing who helped cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, urged donors to open up their wallets to help stop “this radical plan.”

“Over the past few years, we’ve confirmed THREE conservative Justices, but Senate Democrats are looking to UNDO ALL OF THAT by packing the Supreme Court IMMEDIATELY,” the Kentucky Republican said in an email blast.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, recognizing the possible fallout for rank-and-file members from the politically charged push, said Thursday she has no plans to bring the proposal to the House floor for a vote.

The California Democrat said she agrees with Mr. Biden’s decision to have a commission study the issue.

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea or a bad idea,” Mrs. Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I think it’s an idea that should be considered and I think the president’s taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing.

“It’s a big step,” she said.

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