Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court this week, becoming only the fifth woman confirmed to our nation’s highest court and the first female justice ever confirmed with school-aged children. Regardless of your political persuasion, her confirmation is a historic moment in American history.
It might have gotten lost in the noise of the presidential election, but today there are numerous cases headed for the Supreme Court that will have a lasting impact on the future of our country. Now, perhaps more than ever, it is critical that the Supreme Court is filled with justices that will interpret our laws and Constitution impartially, fairly, and as they were written, without interjecting their own personal beliefs. That is exactly what Justice Amy Coney Barrett will do.
Some have cried foul, claiming that President Trump and the Senate’s decision to fulfill their constitutional duty in filling this Supreme Court seat is “illegitimate,” and that’s a load of nonsense. As the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it, “the President is elected for four years, not three.” The powers of the presidency and of the Senate extend until Inauguration Day, not some arbitrary deadline set by political pundits before Election Day. That’s why President Obama had every right to nominate Merrick Garland in 2016 and the Senate had every right to refuse to take up his nominee.
More recently, we’ve been hearing calls to pack the Supreme Court, adding additional Justices beyond the 9 that the Court has traditionally had, undoubtedly trying to fill those new seats with a slew of activist justices to “correct” the perceived “injustice” of the President and the Senate fulfilling their constitutional duties. This short-sighted approach is a direct assault on the separation of powers our Founding Fathers sought in creating three separate, coequal branches of government. It is nothing more than a selfish political ploy to turn the impartial, independent Supreme Court into some sort of super legislature wherein the chosen few dictate their superior knowledge and wisdom unto the American people.
This isn’t a new tactic; it’s been tried before. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried packing the Court in 1937, the American people loudly and rightfully rejected his plan. Although many supported the President and would continue to for years, they were not afraid to stand up and speak out against such a direct assault on our constitutional republic.
Leaders from across the political spectrum heeded that advice for nearly a century, but today it seems some have forgotten the lessons of history. Now is the time for the American people to remind them that we will not tolerate packing the Supreme Court with additional justices to bend it to the will of one political party.
Sam Graves is the Mo. Sixth District U.S. Representative.