I was watching the confirmation process for Judge Amy Coney Barrett today (Day 2). The GOP is talking a lot about court packing.
Court Packing is not just when the number of seats in the court is increased.
Packing can happen with any number of seats in the supreme court — not just 9 seats.
This is because if you deny a president even the confirmation process, and thereby the votes, then effectively you are packing the court for your party.
It is another matter altogether if you went through the process, and the nominee did not get enough votes — then, that has some legitimacy.
Denying a vote is different from the nominee failing to get votes. Basically, it violates the Constitution because the President did his job in nominating Judge Merrick Garland for the supreme court.
Constitutionally, the majority leader, has to put that to a vote.
He did not — there is a clear violation of the Constitution which is unprecedented.
Thankfully, this was done in the past, and cannot be “undone” anymore. There is a very subtle difference between not even considering the nominee vs. a failed vote for the same nominee. This is what lets us see the game going on in the background clearly.
Changing the rules requiring a supreme court nominee to be confirmed with less than 60 votes for a lifetime position, is also a violation as well as unprecedented — because even if the parties are tied in the Senate, the Vice President can break the tie. That is not a great way to confirm a supreme court judge. I would say, it takes away the legitimacy from the nomination.
Denying to even hold hearings for a president’s nominee, and holding that seat till the next election for your party is also bonafide Court Packing because it has the same effect as adding more seats to the supreme court so that your party has an advantage.