by Andrew P. Napolitano
Since the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the determination of President Donald Trump to fill her Supreme Court seat before Election Day with the traditionalist Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the concept of court packing has reared its head. The phrase “court packing” is a derogatory reference to legislation that alters the number of seats on the Supreme Court to alter its perceived ideological makeup.
The origins of modern court packing are from the depression era when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to expand the court from nine to 15 by adding a new justice for every sitting justice who declined to retire upon reaching his 70th birthday. FDR offered the plan in the spring of 1937, shortly after he was inaugurated to his second term. He had just been reelected in a landslide and was frustrated that much of his legislation had been invalidated by the Supreme Court as beyond the powers of the federal government.