Judicious use of a rapidly depleting political window has never been more important for Senate Democrats, who are just one untimely octogenarian death or less than two years away from likely losing their already tenuous grasp on power in Washington. The issue of the Supreme Court and its stolen seats looms large over everyone, for without taking drastic action we are likely looking at a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for the next generation and thus the end of the liberal agenda as we know it.
President Biden is attempting to walk a tenuous tightrope between progressives clamoring for Supreme Court expansion and the crocodile howls from conservatives, refusing to take a stand one way or another but instead choosing to create a “commission” to study the legal and political ramifications of court expansion. But even that tepid announcement has provoked a furious tantrum from Senate Republicans, who somehow have the nerve to accuse Democrats of favoring court-packing after stealing not one but two Supreme Court seats and filling a third with a credibly accused sexual predator.
The Senate’s biggest prima donna, Ted Cruz of Texas, held a press conference this morning with fellow Senators Lindsey Graham and Marsha Blackburn to bemoan how unfair it was that Democrats were even considering expanding the Supreme Court and that we are trying to “rig the game.”
In a show of breathtakingly cynical revisionism that would make Trump proud, Ted Cruz claimed that “You didn’t see Republicans when we had control of the Senate try to rig the game. You didn’t see us try to pack the court.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): "You didn't see Republicans when we had control of the Senate try to rig the game. You didn't see us try to pack the court." pic.twitter.com/reUU9WJU1d
— The Recount (@therecount) April 22, 2021
It is wild to see Republicans suddenly become deeply concerned about the integrity of the Supreme Court after blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court justice nominee, Merrick Garland, for over a year under the justification that the next president should get to decide, essentially stealing the seat, and then rammed through Justice Amy Coney Barett’s nomination just weeks before the 2020 election.
Republicans like Cruz are freaking out this hard at even the slightest prospect of court expansion because they are terrified of getting a taste of their own medicine. They’re scared that Democrats have finally had enough of their relentless brinkmanship, obstruction, and obsessive pursuit of power by any means necessary and are starting to fight fire with fire.
Which is absolutely what we need to do, because it’s become painfully clear that if we don’t do whatever it takes to retain political control over the United States, then the United States as we know it will cease to exist. Our democracy gone, replaced by an oligarchy propped up by predetermined elections in which only elderly white Americans can vote; our workers even more downtrodden and exploited as all labor laws and protections are worn away under a court system entirely dominated by rabid Federalist Society zealots. The act of protest itself, already under siege in 34 states, will almost certainly be illegal, as will abortion. Millions of people will be left to suffer and languish in the wake of the rapidly accelerating climate crisis, as we saw President Trump do to the people of Puerto Rico.
We face a dark future under the yoke of Republican extremism, and it’s imperative we do whatever it takes to stop that from happening. No matter how hard Ted Cruz protests, the truth is that Republicans are intent on “rigging the game” — and our only choice is to fight back with everything we’ve got while we still have the chance to do so.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.