According to a columnist at the Daily Beast, should the conservative-leaning Supreme Court decide to allow Donald Trump to keep his taxes secret, they could pay for the decision after the election should presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden be elected in November.
As the Beast’s David Lurie notes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has spent the past three years packing the courts with “… a huge number of extraordinarily ideological right-wingers, selected with the integral involvement of the Federalist Society. This has included filling slots McConnell held open during the Obama administration (not the least of them being the Supreme Court seat that opened up with the death of Antonin Scalia).”
Adding, “If Justice John Roberts and the court’s other right-wing jurists twist the law to do Trump this favor, they will deal a heavy blow to the court’s already compromised legitimacy, and potentially to their own power as well,” he then explained, “McConnell and his GOP allies plainly have their sights set beyond Trump’s time in office, and expect that the huge cadre of extraordinarily ideological young judges they are installing to lifetime seats on the federal bench will continue to serve their interests, even if the GOP loses its grip on the government in the near future.”
However, as he writes, a President Biden could take drastic steps to undercut all of McConnell’s hard work, if he so chooses, by diluting their power.
“It is unlikely that a President Biden would readily accept a Supreme Court setting out to void his policies after the court had bent over backward to protect those of his predecessor. Furthermore, if as seems increasingly possible, Biden takes office with a Democratic majority in the Senate, the Court-packing scheme that Trump and McConnell have counted on as their legacy could be placed in immediate danger,” he explained. “The size of the Supreme Court, and indeed of the entire federal judiciary, is determined by statute, not by the Constitution. Hence, it is within the power of Congress to increase the size of any court, including the Supreme Court, and likewise within the power of the president and the Senate to confirm any nominee.”
“The only thing that would stand in the way of a Democratic Congress and president undoing the GOP’s remaking of the courts, including by adding to the members of the Supreme Court, would be political will,” Lurie lectured. “FDR was unable to force Congress to take that step, and Biden has ruled it out himself to date. But in the wake of a Supreme Court decision to protect a desperate President Trump from embarrassment, and potential criminal liability, on the eve of an election, such will might be amply available.”
“Therefore, even if Roberts and every other member of the Supreme Court’s current five-justice conservative majority lack compunctions about sacrificing legal principles to protect Donald Trump, one or more of them may well recognize that doing so could come at a heavy cost to their own power,” he suggested.
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