Resisting the calls of some members of our party to immediately recapture the Supreme Court from the radical theocratic majority topped off by the last guy and expand the Supreme Court to 15 members, President Joe Biden has instead opted to convene a commission to study reforming the Court:
“The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals,” the White House said in a statement. “The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices” [Krishnadev Calamur and Nina Totenberg, “Biden Sets Up Commission to Study Supreme Court Reform,” NPR, 2021.04.09].
The 36 members of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States won’t commit to any specific proposals. The President charges them with compiling historical background and analyzing arguments related to how the highest Court functions. Its mix of conservative and liberal members is drawing a mix of reactions from liberals and conservatives, some of whom are predictably miffed that the panel isn’t packed with enough of its own people. Ian Millhiser of Vox suggests that the mix President Biden picked means the commission won’t achieve anything other than to assure the conservative Court that they can theocratize and de-democratize with wild abandon without fear of Presidential reprisal:
If the justices believe that President Biden may send them six new colleagues if the Court dismantles what remains of the Voting Rights Act, then those justices may be less likely to dismantle the Voting Rights Act.
A healthy fear of a Democratic majority could lead the Supreme Court to become less partisan.
But Biden’s new commission sends the opposite message. With so many prominent members of the Federalist Society praising the commission right out the gate, it’s clear that conservatives do not feel threatened by this commission. And the justices themselves are just as capable of looking at the list of names that Biden picked and seeing that this commission is unlikely to support significant reforms [Ian Millhiser, “Biden’s Supreme Court Reform Commission Won’t Fix Anything,” Vox, 2021.04.10].
Yet full-time Presidential campaigner and occasional Governor Kristi Noem exposes her core political “
philosophy“—wait, that’s the wrong word, since etymologically, philo-sophy means love of wisdom—her modus operandi by using her South Dakota Governor’s social media channels to cry about this national issue:
Noem Rule #1: Always Be Campaigning. Stoke the radical right wing base every day with some false-but-who-cares and self-indicting exaggeration. President Biden is not changing any rules about the Supreme Court; he’s said more against packing the Court than he has for packing. Republicans are the ones who didn’t get their way in the 2020 election and now are changing voting rules across the country and destroying public trust in long-standing institutions.
Noem Rule #2: Don’t study anything: you might find out things you don’t like. When Noem mock-quotes “studying,” she (a—the cheap shot) probably is recalling her college days and the “degree” she “earned” while “serving” in Congress and (b—the real shot) implies that gathering information and expert analysis of important issues is bad. Perhaps she feels the same about auto maintenance: when she goes in for an oil change, she orders the mechanics not to conduct any further inspection, because she doesn’t want to imply that anything is broken. She must avoid going to the doctor for regular checkups, because she needs to maintain her image and can’t imply that anything is wrong with her cross-fit body.
The President has assembled diverse scholars to study the functions of the highest Court in America. Such study is good for public knowledge and policy debate. By saying the contrary, Kristi Noem shows her lack of interest in informed debate and her focus on cheap non-local political sloganeering.