“How Much Does The Current Structure Benefit Us?”: AOC Questions Role Of Supreme Court In Defending Court Packing

It often seems that our politics of rage has created a new age of berserkers, warriors revered for their blind destructive fury. In order to distinguish yourself from the rest of the mob, you must show a willingness to lay waste to any structure or institution on the path to victory. That type of blood-lust politics was on display this week when House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Sen. Ed Markey , D-Mass, and others unveiled a raw court packing bill to add four new justices to the Supreme Court to give liberals a one-justice majority. Not to be outdone, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. not only endorsed the court-packing scheme but appeared to question the very basis for Marbury v. Madison — the case laying the foundation for the Supreme Court in our constitutional system.

AOC challenged the role of the Court in overturning laws. She questioned “just, functionally, the idea that nine people, that a nine person court, can overturn laws that thousand– hundreds and thousands of legislators, advocates and policymakers drew consensus on.” She then added “How much does the current structure benefit us? And I don’t think it does.”

That current structure is called judicial review. It is the very thing that prevents authoritarian rule. Notably, there is little difference in nine or the proposed thirteen justices overturning laws “hundreds and thousands of legislators, advocates and policymakers drew consensus on.” Unless she is suggesting requiring thousands of jurists to review laws in equal numbers, her problem appears to be with the concept of judicial review.

In the 1803 Marbury decision, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that “[t]he very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury.” Part of that right to review is the challenging of unconstitutional federal laws.  Marshall noted that “[t]he powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the constitution is written.” He then wrote most famously: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is.”

AOC seems as emphatically convinced that a small number of jurists should not stand in judgment of the demands of thousands.  There is a term for that type of system. It is called ochlocracy, or mob rule. Another term, most associated with John Stuart Mill in his work On Liberty (1859) is “tyranny of the majority.” Mill explains that “the will of the people […] practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people.” Framers like John Adams referred to this form of tyranny and it is precisely what motivated figures like George Mason to demand a Bill of Rights protecting individual rights against the government – and the will of the majority. You do not need a First Amendment to protect popular speech. It is designed to protect the unpopular views of an insular and even despised minority.

What was an enlightened view in the Eighteenth Century is now reactionary in the Twenty-First Century. The Court is an impediment to progress. Indeed, the privileged few justices – whether nine or thirteen – is intolerable for those who seek transform our society.  This however is only a tyranny of the majority by the smallest margin. These structural changes are being pushed through despite an election that left the Senate in a 50-50 tie and the House with a now two-seat majority. It is really “tyranny of the mere majority.”

What is most chilling however is AOC’s question “How much does the current structure benefit us? It reflects a crisis for faith. No constitutional system can long survive with a type of leap of faith by the govern – faith not only in the system itself but each other.  That faith is now gone. Instead, we have the rise of the berserkers, politicians promising to yield to no institution or tradition that does not “benefit us.”

Back in the age of Vikings, berserkers would throw off their armor and even bite their own shields in pure rage. Accounts of the time describe a type of trancelike state called berserkergang that could describe many in our current politics: a “shivering, chattering of the teeth, and chill in the body, and then the face swelled and changed its color. With this was connected a great hot-headedness, which at last gave over into a great rage.” Norse leaders used the berserkers for their own ends. However, the berserkers had other plans and soon their lust for destruction threatened these leaders themselves. In 1015, Norway officially outlawed berserkers.

President Joe Biden has continued to stand mute as these figures rampage through his party and now the country. He is clearly unwilling to confront them directly and risk AOC or others asking how Biden “benefits us.” Indeed, he is enabling them by refusing to denounce court packing or other extreme demands. These extreme forces could be useful in maintaining Democratic control in the 2022 and 2024 elections. However, if the White House hopes they will serve as Biden’s berserkers, history shows they won’t be for long.

219 thoughts on ““How Much Does The Current Structure Benefit Us?”: AOC Questions Role Of Supreme Court In Defending Court Packing”

  1. Lowest Common Denominator:

    Alhysteria O’crazio Corkheads is a voracious parasite rabidly preying on the white man’s money.
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    They come from the world over to glut and gorge.

    Traitors allow the barbarians inside the gate for profit.

  2. Enough to protect us from fascists who have never taken the oath of office like The Awk leader of The Squats.

  3. THE MORE JUSTICES, THE MORE CORRUPTION

    A Supreme Court comprised of one Chief Justice and five Associate Justices is the thesis of the American Founders. No compelling evidence has ever existed to effect an increase in those numbers. The sole reason for modifying the Supreme Court is to corrupt it. The only thing which has increased, with respect to the number of Supreme Court Justices, is the corruption of fundamental law. There is no rationale under which the Supreme Court should be altered from its original composition and increased in number.

    In 1860, the Supreme Court failed to support the fully constitutional secession of the Confederate States of America; something the Framers did not prohibit and, in deed, the Founders engaged in themselves. Since then, the Supreme Court has failed to strike down an unconstitutional war of aggression against a sovereign foreign nation, the unconstitutional suspension of Habeas Corpus, summary confiscation of private property, improperly ratified and forcibly imposed amendments under brutal post-war military occupation, and the unconstitutional imposition of the Federal Reserve Board, income tax, IRS, Social Security, Medicare, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, regulation of free markets and free enterprises, Depts of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Medicaid, affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, rent control, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, SNAP, HAMP, HARP, TARP, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, “hate crime” laws, etc.

    The entire American welfare state is unconstitutional. Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto 59 years after the adoption of the Constitution because none of the principles of the Communist Manifesto were in the Constitution. Had the principles of the Communist Manifesto been in the Constitution, Karl Marx would have had no reason to write the Communist Manifesto. The principles of the Communist Manifesto were not in the Constitution then and the principles of the Communist Manifesto are not in the Constitution now.

    The vote is the direct control of the people over the executive and legislative branches. The sole mechanism for control of the Supreme Court and the judicial branch is the impeachment and conviction process, which must be optimized and accelerated. The more Justices on the Court, the more politicization of the Court. The fewer Justices, the more control by the People. The Supreme Court must be corrected when it acts politically rather that juridically. The Supreme Court must be corrected when it illicitly legislates, modifies legislation or modifies the Constitution. The Supreme Court must be corrected when it fails to “…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.” The most easily controlled and correctable would be a Supreme Court of one, with an appropriately minimal number of Associate Justices for purposes of the docket.

    If control of the actions and derelictions of the Supreme Court fails, the Constitution fails.

    If the Constitution fails, America fails.
    _____________________________

    Judiciary Act of 1789

    “An Act to Establish the Judicial Courts of the United States”

    SECTION 1.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the supreme court of the United States shall consist of a chief justice and five associate justices, any four of whom shall be a quorum, and shall hold annually at the seat of government two sessions, the one commencing the first Monday of February, and the other the first Monday of August. That the associate justices shall have precedence according to the date of their commissions, or when the commissions of two or more of them bear date on the same day, according to their respective ages.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

    “…men…[will]…do…what their powers do not authorize, [and] what they forbid.”

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

    1. I’m surprised she’s this erudite. A guarantee of citizen rights was demanded by the anti-Federalists to protect the people from abuse of the new centralized government’s powers but it lasted only fourteen years. In Marbury, Chief Justice Marshall appointed the Court the sole authority on the meaning of the Bill of Rights, despite lacking clear Constitutional authority for such wide-reaching oversight. At the Constitutional Convention, his cousin James Madison had proposed the new federal regime have the power to veto state laws but the measure was voted down. He and his fellow Virginia slaveholders got their way anyhow, through this back-door trick, by which an arm of the central government gets to have the last word on what control that government may or may not exercise over its people.

      And as a tidy little bonus, Marbury provided the Court with a paradigm on which it can base clearly and obviously unjust decisions. Marshall agreed that Marbury was entitled to relief but refused to provide it. There was no justice in Marshall’s ruling; even though the Constitution explicitly says that one of the nation’s purposes is to “establish justice.”

      Jefferson condemned the decision, writing “the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.” That he was the sole opposing voice among the many still living Founders speaks eloquently of the kind of government these aristocrats truly preferred.

Leave a Reply