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The Real Threat to American Democracy

Dear Editor: 

Donald Trump, the man, may represent the worst of America and the refusal of President Trump to honor an orderly transition of power may be an egregious affront to our traditions but Trump is not the greatest threat to our democracy.  The real threat is the far left’s plan for a hostile takeover of the Supreme Court.  

An independent Supreme Court plays an incredibly important role in our democracy.  It is the most powerful check against abuses of power by the President or Congress.  Most of us forgot Marbury v. Madison while we were still in high school but that 1803 case set the standard for how our government operates.  The Supreme Court, with no army or police of its own, can order the President (or in that case the Secretary of State) to follow the law and can invalidate laws that run contrary to our Constitution. 

If Democratic extremists have their way, Congress would expand the number of justices on the Court and President Biden (if elected) would add four or more activist justices to do the left’s bidding.  With no filibuster in the Senate, the party in power would henceforth own the Court, rendering it a rubber stamp for the President or Congress.  Unconstitutional laws could be rammed through and rights could be abused with no recourse for citizens. 

Such an effort has only been attempted once, in 1937 by FDR.  It was rejected 70-20 by a Senate that had 74 members of Roosevelt’s own party.  Indeed, the Judiciary Committee said FDR’s proposal “should be so emphatically rejected that its parallel will never again be presented to the free representatives of the free people of America.”  Democrats of that era understood the damage court-packing would do.  Democratic leaders of today don’t seem to care. 

At the first presidential debate, Joe Biden refused to answer a direct question about court-packing.  Perhaps he was being coy.  Biden wants the far left vote as much as Trump wants the Proud Boy vote.  We cannot count on Biden to do the right thing if he is elected.  We must urge Senator Schumer to oppose court-packing.  Also, urge him to bring back the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees if he becomes Majority Leader.  As long as I am dreaming, ask him to give Amy Coney Barrett fair treatment, not a Kavanaugh smear job.  Someone needs to return the Senate back to its former glory. 

More importantly, we need to protect and preserve the structures that assure our rights and our democracy.  If we allow one branch of the Federal government to be co-opted by another then our democracy will fail – as surely as a three-legged stool will fall if you kick out one of its legs. 

Paul King