Harry Reid goes nuclear: get ready for “Court Packing Scheme II.” Updated

Posted by: Phineas on November 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"Ready to shoot his own foot off?"

“Bitter clinger to power”

This morning the petty little tyrant also known as Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) did what he has longed to do and finally changed the rules of the Senate to weaken filibusters, the so-called “nuclear option:”

In a move that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) called “the most important and most dangerous restructuring of Senate rules since Thomas Jefferson wrote them,” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pushed the button on the long-threatened “nuclear option” today to require a simple majority to move forward President Obama’s judicial nominees.

There were three Democratic defectors — Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — on the rules change, which came to the floor over the block of three judges intended for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The rule change only affects court appointments below the level of the Supreme Court and also doesn’t limit filibusters against legislation. Yet. Obama hinted at attacking the legislative filibuster, and you can bet the filibuster against Supreme Court nominees will be similarly brushed aside, should an opening arise between now and the next Inauguration Day.

Many senators and outside observers (including yours truly) commented this morning that this could well come back to bite the Democrats in the behind, once the Republicans take control of the Senate, which could come as early as next year, given their crumbling political position thanks to Obamacare. It seems at first and even second glance to be a shortsighted move, an act of petulance done in spite against one’s own interests.

I think, however, there is a deeper motive.

Reid, for all his faults, is not a stupid man. Or, at least, he’s a skilled politician who can see which way the electoral winds are blowing. He remembers 2010, when anger over the passage of Obamacare cost the Democrats the House and almost lost them the Senate.

But now people are even angrier, now that Obamacare has kicked in.  And it’s only going to get worse for the Democrats, as the web site doesn’t get fixed, the “access shock” kicks in, rates go up even further, and millions who thought their employer-based coverage was safe find out otherwise starting in fall, 2014, just before the elections… See where this is going?

Harry Reid knows the Senate is lost. He’s read the entrails for his party’s fortunes and seen in the not too distant future a Republican House, Senate, and (quite possibly) White House. With the loss of legislative power this entails, Reid has laid the groundwork to do the one thing he can do to protect the progressive agenda in 2017 and beyond: pack the courts with progressive judges.

Court packing was the scheme through which FDR hoped to load up a conservative Supreme Court that had been blocking key New Deal measures with liberal justices who would swing decisions his way. While the plan per se failed, it had the intended effect: the Court was intimidated and, through retirement and changed minds, started to vote FDR’s way.

Reid has the same thing in mind. I would not be surprised at all to see Obama appoint a bunch of appellate and district judges, in order to have them place when Republican measures undoing Obamacare and other progressive legislation are challenged in court. Long after Reid and his majority are gone, these progressive judges would be in place to rule with “empathy” and “fairness” and find new rights in the Constitution that no one else has ever seen there.

But what about the Supreme Court? Wouldn’t they smack down errant lower courts?

You’d better hope Scalia, Thomas, and the other Center-Right justices stay healthy, otherwise this same maneuver will be used to give us, for example, Cass Sunstein, who is a fan of FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights,” or California Justice Goodwin Liu (Be afraid, be very afraid).

Court Packing II, coming your way in 2014.

RELATED: At Twitchy, a video festival of Democrats claiming that limiting the filibuster would be a disaster — back when George W. Bush was president. How times change.

UPDATE: At NRO’s Bench Memos, Curt Levey sees some real bad news in this development —

The immediate impact will be to turn the D.C. Circuit — often the only check on a president’s executive power — into a rubber stamp for Obama’s unilateral rewriting of statutes, his questionable executive orders, his overreaching agency regulations, and his other Nixonian abuses of executive authority.

Over a somewhat longer term, my concern is that the moderating force that was exerted on Obama’s judicial nominations by the filibuster threat is gone. As a result, expect to see more nominations of radicals like Goodwin Liu and a faster remaking of the entire federal judiciary.

Read the rest for some hopeful news.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

RSS feed for comments on this post.

6 Responses to “Harry Reid goes nuclear: get ready for “Court Packing Scheme II.” Updated”


  1. Drew the Infidel says:

    This represents a hollow victory for the commiecrats in view of the fact that the partisan rancor in DC is very frustrating and distasteful to the voting public; the O-bots have sought to douse the fire by throwing gasoline on it. Evidence of this is Obhammud’s approval rating heading for “Nixon Country”.

    The marginal approval rating of George W. Bush was engineered by a relentless media barrage but Obhammud has headed down that same slippery slope “all by his lonesome” as he once intoned while Bush-bashing.

    “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”–James 3:16

  2. Carlos says:

    My wife and I happened to watch “Judgement at Nuremberg” last night, and it got me to thinking about the rise of the Third Reich and the rise of Obama.

    I am not at all surprised by this. It is simply another step, eerily similar to that rise, in Obama becoming the next in a long line of tyrannical dictators who rose to power with the willing aid of dupes like Dingy Harry and an extremely complicit “press.”.

    Say goodbye to the 2016 elections, and probably the 2014 ones, too, although all the Sun King will have to do is eliminate all congressional power with the simple stroke of a pen after the jackasses are swept from power in the 2014 elections. That stroke of the pen will be upheld by a newly packed DC District court, and by that time even Mr. Roberts will see the writing on the wall.

    It is highly unlikely, though, that the Sun King worshippers will see what’s happening until they’ve been put in real, physical chains, too.

    I weep for what this sad third-world entity has become, and for what it could have been but for socialists/communists/elitists being patient enough to train generations of mindless, thoughtless simpletons.

  3. Xavier says:

    Obama’s too skilled a politician to risk the Senate. A GOP House and Senate would mean a complete shutdown of everything Obama, including two big liberal agendas he has yet to tackle, Immigration Reform and Climate Change. Additionally, he’d probably be facing impeachment proceedings. The fact that Barry would implement a hugely unpopular law (ACA) just prior to the 2014 elections says the administration has already taken steps to protect itself. The DOJ and IRS, along with the rebranded ACORN, will be up to their usual voter fraud and intimidation tricks and BarryCo will be unobstructed through at least 2016.

  4. formwiz says:

    Another of those swords that cut both ways.

  5. Tom says:

    “Court Packing” was the attempt to ADD new positions to change the balance of a court. I haven’t heard of any proposals to add new positions. Doesn’t that take legislative action? The filibuster rule change will only expedite seating judges for the 93 current judiciary vacancies – several of which go back to 2005!

  6. DaveinMinnesota says:

    I keep hearing other news stories claiming that this could work both ways if and when we regain a Republican Senate…but really, seriously think about that for a minute. Suppose we do end up with a tri-fecta of a Republican House, Senate, and Presidency.

    Any Republican attempt to pack the courts, limit filibuster, or changing historical Senate rules would result in what ? The media would have the public in an outrage within minutes, as these shenanigans are only allowed by Democrats. Republicans would be waving the white flag soon thereafter. I’ve seen alot of politics in my lifetime and come to realize there’s nothing wrong with the politicians – just the media and those that continually vote for what we have now.