Democrats’ court-packing push driven by left-wing writer who called for ’10 new justices’
Democratic Reps. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jerry Nadler of New York, Mondaire Jones of New York and House Courts Subcommittee Chair Hank Johnson of Georgia, as well as former Vermont governor and DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Democratic Strategist Karen Finney and other activists will be at Wednesday’s meeting to discuss the bill.
Democrats’ push to expand the Supreme Court has gained momentum since President Biden took office, but Demand Justice has been leading the charge since around 2018, when the group’s director, Brian Fallon, was first introduced to Elie Mystal, a justice correspondent for The Nation and executive editor of Above the Law.
Fallon said during a Sept. 20 episode of Bakari Seller’s podcast that Mystal inspired him to push for reforming the Supreme Court.
“After the Brett Kavanaugh fight is when I first got introduced to [Mystal], because like so many people, after Brett Kavanaugh, we were all looking around and saying, ‘How do we pick up the pieces and move on from here?’ and people at esteemed outlets like Above The Law, which is read by all these lawyers at … big corporate firms,” Fallon said during the interview.
Fallon added that Mystal “was one of the leading voices calling for ideas like reforming the Supreme Court.” The Demand Justice director said that if people like Mystal, who “are on the inside,” who write for “elite audiences like this are willing to call it out,” Demand Justice “should be willing to try to organize by it.”
“So that’s when I first got acquainted with Elie, and we did an event together in December of 2018 and took the house down with storytelling that is on display here, right now, and that’s when we decided to sort of lean in on that issue,” he said.
During the podcast, Mystal said Democrats had to make Republicans “win as ugly and as pettily and as grossly as possible” with the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to build momentum for Supreme Court reform after the inauguration if then-presidential candidate Biden were to win the 2020 election.
“I look at the fight between now and inauguration as the fight to build political momentum for what has to happen after the inauguration if Biden wins,” he said. “…They’re going to win, but we have to make them win ugly. We have to make it obvious, have the lengths to which they are willing to go in order to control the Supreme Court.”
He added that by delaying Barret’s nomination until after the 2020 election when a lame-duck Congress is in session, people “who have likely been voted out of office already” will vote “to confirm a Supreme Court justice that is going to wield power for 40 years.”
“I think that looks very different than if we have a dually elected Senate voting on this nominee, so I think all that plays into what happens after the inauguration. [Republicans] are going to win. I have no doubt about that, but we have to make them ‘win as ugly and as pettily and as grossly as possible’ in order to build momentum for what has to happen next,” the writer said.
Mystal said later that, ideally, he would push for the addition of 10 new Supreme Court Justices so that there are 19 total.
“We have too few. If we had 10 more Supreme Court Justices, which is my initial proposal — expanding to 19-member Supreme Court — the court would work more like the lower circuit courts in this country, most of which operate with far more than nine people,” he said.
The writer claimed during a 2018 Demand Justice event that the Supreme Court only has “seven legitimate justices” and said the confirmation process is “broken.” He went on to say that each justice has too much power.
“We live in a world where If Ruth Bader Ginsburg falls down the stairs, there goes abortion. That’s insane,” he said. “That’s insane, and one way to fix it is by packing the court… No, screw it. Ten. Go big or go home. Ten new justices.”
Demand Justice is a “dark money” group that does not disclose its donors. It is a project of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is managed by D.C.-based consulting firm Arabella Advisors. Arabella’s vast network includes four funds that it manages, with each housing dozens of left-wing groups and initiatives. While Demand Justice does not identify its donors, liberal billionaire George Soros’ advocacy arm reported giving $2.6 million to the group around the time of its inception.
Mystal tweeted in October that he donates to Demand Justice and claimed that Demand Justice is not “dark money.” Mystal also tweeted in October that he has seen more Demand Justice ads than Judicial Crisis Network (a conservative group) ads, adding, “WE NEED THIS.”
Mystal didn’t return Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Joe Schoffstall and Cameron Cawthorn contributed to this report.