University Professor David Driesen’s important new book—”The Specter of Dictatorship: Judicial Enabling of Presidential Power” (Stanford, 2021)—reveals how the U.S. Supreme Court’s presidentialism threatens democracy and what the United States can do about it. To celebrate the publication of the…
‘Biden is Considering Overhauling the Supreme Court. That’s Happened During Every Crisis in US Democracy’
Thomas Keck, professor of political science in the Maxwell School, wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post titled “Biden is considering overhauling the Supreme Court. That’s happened during every crisis in U.S. democracy.” Keck, who serves as the Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics, is an expert on the U.S. Supreme Court and constitutional law.
Keck explains that on April 9, President Joe Biden appointed a presidential commission focused on Supreme Court reform. The action fulfilled a campaign promise that many Democrats advocated for during Biden’s fight for the presidential nomination. Keck writes that Democrats pushed for changes to the court in response to actions from Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans, after they pushed forward two Supreme Court appointments under the Trump administration.
While the move from Biden may seem radical, Keck says that the decision merely reflects a common pattern in U.S. politics. Through his research on court packing, Keck has found that during six crisis periods throughout American history there have also been “prominent proposals for court reform.” In the 1790s, 1850s, 1890s, 1930s, 1970s and 2010s, various American political leaders pushed for changes to the U.S. court system in attempts to fix perceived problems with the judicial system.
“Throughout U.S. history, crises of democracy have prompted discussions of Supreme Court reform because the court itself has often been perceived as a barrier to democratic preservation and renewal,” Keck writes. He believes that Biden’s attempts to change the courts today are no different, as the president is simply responding to current “crises of democratic governance.”
To read his essay in its entirety, visit The Washington Post.
Syracuse University media relations team members work regularly with the campus community to secure placements of op-eds. Anyone interested in writing an op-ed should first review the University’s op-ed guidelines and email firstname.lastname@example.org.