Jim Jordan accuses Democrats of trying to ‘pack’ the Supreme Court ‘with four left-wing Justices’

Jim Jordan accuses Democrats of trying to ‘pack’ the Supreme Court ‘with four left-wing Justices’
Image via Gage Skidmore.

In a memo sent to House Republicans urging them to not vote for the bill to protect the marriages of same-sex couples, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) accused Democrats of trying to “delegitimize” the U.S. Supreme Court and of trying to pack it with four “left-wing” justices.

Jordan’s memo does not explain his claim Democrats “tried to pack the Court with four left-wing justices.” The Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative supermajority. Five of the six conservatives currently serving were placed on the nation’s highest court for life by presidents who did not win the popular vote. And aside from a press conference and occasional press releases, there have been no practical efforts to expand the Supreme Court, despite the urging of some legal experts.

The Jordan memo, obtained and posted by Politico’s Olivia Beavers, calls the Respect for Marriage Act, which passed with a strong bipartisan majority despite Jordan’s exhortation, “unnecessary.”

READ MORE: Roe’s demise triggers Missouri law forbidding pregnant women from finalizing a divorce

“The Democrats want Americans to believe that because the Supreme Court returned the question of abortion to the states, it is poised to soon overturn precedent regarding same-sex and interracial marriage,” his memo says. “That simply is not true.”

Jordan is ignoring the powerful statement made by Justice Clarence Thomas to “reconsider” Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception), Lawrence v. Texas (intimate relations), and Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage.)

“Democrats are fearmongering to delegitimize the Supreme Court,” Jordan also claimed. “For years, the left has
sought to undermine the legitimacy of the Court. They organized smear campaigns against Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Thomas. They tried to pack the Court with four left-wing justices.”

He called the marriage bill, designed to protect the millions of Americans who are in same-sex marriages or someday hope to be, “an extension of these delegitimization efforts.”

READ MORE: Legal expert tears apart flawed thinking of 'deeply unprincipled' Supreme Court originalists

MSNBC’s Steve Benen weighed in, calling Jordan’s remarks “an odd argument for a member of Congress to make.”

He says Jordan “argued that the legislative branch shouldn’t legislate on the matter at all — because for Congress to pass a federal law enshrining an existing right is to ‘delegitimize and attempt to intimidate’ the Supreme Court.”

“In other words” Benen adds, “this was a rare example of a federal lawmaker arguing that other federal lawmakers shouldn’t pursue a legislative priority through federal lawmaking.”

Meanwhile, a new Marquette Law School Poll finds “approval of the U.S. Supreme Court has fallen to 38%, while 61% disapprove of how the Court is handling its job.” The Court’s approval rating was 44% just months ago, in May, which is the same month the draft opinion overturning Roe leaked. One month earlier it was 54%.

Less than two years ago in September of 2020, the Supreme Court’s approval stood at 66%.

This post has been updated to include polling data.

READ MORE: The post-Roe fight for digital privacy

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