Should Democrats Pack the Courts or Pack their Bags?

In+one+of+her+ninth+grade+history+classes%2C+history+teacher+Ms.+Meyers+listens+to+one+of+her+students+discuss+the+lesson.+Ms.+Meyers+understands+the+concern+with+the+current+issues+but+feels+that+packing+the+court+is+not+a+very+good+idea.+
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Should Democrats Pack the Courts or Pack their Bags?

In one of her ninth grade history classes, history teacher Ms. Meyers listens to one of her students discuss the lesson. Ms. Meyers understands the concern with the current issues but feels that packing the court is not a very good idea.

In one of her ninth grade history classes, history teacher Ms. Meyers listens to one of her students discuss the lesson. Ms. Meyers understands the concern with the current issues but feels that packing the court is not a very good idea.

Josephine Kinlan

In one of her ninth grade history classes, history teacher Ms. Meyers listens to one of her students discuss the lesson. Ms. Meyers understands the concern with the current issues but feels that packing the court is not a very good idea.

Josephine Kinlan

Josephine Kinlan

In one of her ninth grade history classes, history teacher Ms. Meyers listens to one of her students discuss the lesson. Ms. Meyers understands the concern with the current issues but feels that packing the court is not a very good idea.

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The world of politics has become one that many seldom wish to discuss. It causes much discomfort, and a divide amongst those who may have once called themselves friends. Nevertheless, Democrats and Republicans continue their squabbles, grabbing at each other’s throats with language ranging from that of a professor to that of a third-grader. The topic of today’s quarrel? Democrats are suggesting something that has never been done before: an addition of Justices to our Judicial branch, otherwise known as packing the Supreme Court. This would be a significant alteration in our government’s legality system, considering we have never had more than nine judges leading our Judicial branch. So why the sudden push for packing?

Recently, federal courts have been gaining significant numbers of new, young, conservative judges, sworn in and defended by Trump and the GOP. Trump has boasted about this on his twitter account: “Today I signed the 160th Federal Judge to the Bench. Within a short period of time we will be at over 200 Federal Judges, including many in the Appellate Courts & two great new U.S. Supreme Court Justices!” 

The majority of Trump’s choices fit a generic type: white (87 percent), male (78 percent), young, and conservative, according to The New York Times. The lack of diversity in Trump’s choices is worrisome, since they will be the most influential people in decisions of laws and court cases. The inflow of new conservative judges is preparation by Republicans and Trump for the years ahead: as long as there are young conservative judges in federal courts, there will be a surplus of them to choose for new Supreme Court Justices. These judges will work in the interest of Republican representatives when it comes to interpreting laws, which will assist in advancing their constricting agenda of limiting minorities. 

What could this mean for us as citizens? What could it mean for us as students? Let’s take a closer look at some of the more controversial events that have already taken place under the Trump administration: repeal of environmental protection acts, repeal of Obama’s healthcare, legislation forbidding immigration from certain countries, ICE raids, removal of Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, tweets stating that transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the military, the swearing in of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and more. 

Many of these controversial policies and events are backed by blatant xenophobia, inequality, white and cisgender privilege, and interest in business over environmental and ethical concerns. With more Republican leaders in our courts, more legislation in favor of Republicans will be passed, similar to the controversial legislation already passed.

Now, this may not seem like a huge problem yet. After all, America goes through time periods of governmental and representational change when the Presidential party shifts. “Our government works in cycles, with the majority shifting every few years due to dissatisfaction from the public or arising issues,” said Grace Lorch ’22. Republicans’ demands are often supplied more in the time of a Republican President, and vice-versa with a Democratic President. In other words, it is a cycle: Republican President, Republican legislation, Democratic President, Democratic legislation, and so on and so forth. 

However, in our current reality, this succession is concerning. The overwhelming amount of Republican and conservative views could even become dangerous, especially for those who may struggle with acceptance in our society as a result of conservative views: the LGBTQ+ community, environmental advocates, women and abortion advocates, immigrants, people in need of healthcare, and many others. 

“The fact that these newly appointed judges are in favor of restricting the rights of people who are not like them makes me extremely scared that the opportunities minorities have fought extremely hard for will be taken away,” said Gabrielle Huck ’22. In Bronx Science and most of New York City, these groups of people are much more accepted and supported than in other, conservative majority states. 

“The fact that these newly appointed judges are in favor of restricting the rights of people who are not like them makes me extremely scared that the opportunities minorities have fought extremely hard for will be taken away,” said Gabrielle Huck ’22.

For instance, the recently passed “Alabama Human Life Protection Act” imposes severe limits on a woman’s ability to get an abortion: they can get one if their baby has a “lethal anomaly” that would cause it to be stillborn or die shortly after birth, or if the abortion “would prevent serious health risk to the mother.” Given that many conservatives share similar views on abortion rights and pro-life ideals, there is high possibility for legislation to be passed that could endanger women’s rights to their bodies in our full nation. 

So would packing the courts help? Not necessarily; we have little experience with such a task, so honestly, we do not know. As said by Bronx Science history teacher, Ms. Elizabeth Meyers, “Although it may help to advocate for more judicial activism in the Supreme Court, the strategy could potentially backfire if the Republican party continues to control the Senate and the White House.” What is truly important to know is that the growth of Republican conservative judges is a threat to our accepting community; “These laws and new precedents that the judges will rule on will affect our adult lives more than it will affect theirs,” said Huck.

As a student body, and the next generation of voters and workers, if a need arises where we need to defend our people – who may be facing indirect or direct persecution through this upcoming legislation – we must be prepared to stand.

Josephine Kinlan
Grace Lorch ’22 believes that packing the court is not a smart idea, because of how much the two parties have already divided, and how packing could continue to contribute to such divisions. “Over the past few years, tension between the two parties have significantly increased, and packing the courts would only make it worse.” Lorch said.

Josephine Kinlan
Gabrielle Huck ’22 believes that packing the court is good in theory but will likely be faulty in practice. However, she still feels concerned about the onslaught of Republican judges limiting the freedom of minorities, and she feels that our generation needs to be aware for the safety of our future. “The student body should be aware of what is going on around us and participate in our government, to ensure that in the future everyone will have the same opportunities and potential to succeed,” said Huck.

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