Dems Are Old Hands at Packing State High Courts

COMMENTARY
X
Story Stream
recent articles

If you’re wondering why Joe Biden still won’t say whether he supports packing the U.S. Supreme Court if he’s elected president, it’s because he doesn’t have to. His Democratic Party has been actively transforming state courts into legislative backstops for years – and will undoubtedly pressure Biden to do the same to our nation’s high court, if given the chance.

In states across the country, where Democrats have failed to achieve their increasingly radical agenda at the ballot box, leftist groups have spent millions of dollars installing on state supreme courts liberal, activist judges, who are all too willing to legislate from the bench. In 2020, that means helping to elect Biden president by ignoring critical election security laws designed to protect against voter fraud. 

Look no further than in battleground Pennsylvania, where Democrats in 2015 seized on turmoil created by three resignations from the state’s highest court and spent millions of dollars to win those seats for liberal judges. The Democratic Party, state and national labor unions, and billboard trial lawyers all chipped in, knowing the stakes – and the opportunities – were high.

The Republican State Leadership Committee led the fight to stop them in an election that would ultimately become the most expensive state judicial election at the time – a record $16.5 million was poured in by outside groups. Democrats recognized how useful a partisan, activist majority on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would be for their policy agenda and political preferences for years to come. 

The outcomes didn’t take long to pay off: This year, that same Democrat majority on the court used the Pennsylvania Constitution’s “Free and Equal Elections Clause” to ignore state law requiring absentee ballots be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day. The court adopted a politics-first interpretation of the law, allowing it to rewrite deadlines that it found inconvenient. 

Instead of applying the “received by” deadline statute, a neutral, even-handed rule that applies to all Pennsylvania voters equally, the court created a rule requested by Democrats who believe this outcome benefits their party, and their candidate, politically. Under the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling, only absentee voters can cast valid votes after Election Day. In-person voters can’t. 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling has been appealed by Republicans to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Biden’s Supreme Court shortlist is likely full of activist judges on state supreme courts who have ignored legislatively adopted rules, procedures, and deadlines when it was inconvenient for their politically preferred outcome. 

Whether they come from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, or Ohio, Democrats have been quietly electing partisan, activist judges to state supreme courts across this country. The Republican State Leadership Committee is the only national group fighting on this field in support of the rule of law. 

“Elections have consequences.”  That’s the refrain from winners in the game of power politics, from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. But we expect those elections to be run according to the rules, procedures and deadlines adopted by legislatures after sober consideration, not stripped of security provisions by partisan, activist judges.

Forgive us if we’re rightfully skeptical that Biden will stand up to the radical left when they ram through Congress an institution-crumbling, court-packing scheme.

Andrew Wynne leads the Republican State Leadership Committee’s Judicial Fairness Initiative.



Comment
Show comments Hide Comments