John Derbyshire On Court-Packing: The Mathematical Hazard
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A few months ago, when the subject of court-packing came up, Dennis Prager over at the American Greatness website pointed out a mathematical hazard implicit in the idea, one that could have us with 783 justices on the Supreme Court a hundred years from now.

On the October 16th Radio Derb podcast I took Prager's math and ran with it.

 Let's suppose, says Dennis, that Judge Barrett is confirmed to the Court, and that conservatives then have a 6–3 majority, counting Justice Roberts as a conservative—which, as Prager says, is a stretch, but hey.

And let's suppose then that President Joe Biden appoints six new liberal justices, giving the left a 9–6 majority. Nine out of fifteen is three-fifths, so Dennis calls that a 60 percent advantage.

So far, so good. But now suppose Republicans gain Congress and the White House in some future election cycle. Pointing to the precedent set by Biden, they'd want to have a 60 percent advantage of their own on the Court. That would mean appointing 7½ more conservative justices, which would be a little tricky. They'd probably appoint eight, giving them a not-quite-61-percent advantage, fourteen justices to nine on a 23-seat Court.

Lather, rinse, repeat every time there's a total change of party control. If you understand the meaning of the word "exponential," you can see where this is going.

Prager takes it to the year 2120, a hundred years from now, when the Court comprises 522 justices, with a conservative majority of 104. The Democrats regain Congress and the White House and expand the Court to 783 justices …

Prager's math is sound, but his politics is too optimistic. If the Democrats win Congress and the Presidency next month, they will do all they can think of to make sure that no other party takes power for decades to come. Mass amnesties, open borders, statehood for Puerto Rico, D.C. American Samoa, Guam, and any other place they can think of. Our Antarctic territories? Why not?

It will be like the Whig Supremacy in 18th-century Britain, only more corrupt and totalitarian.

That aside, the math is kind of neat. Prager, as I said, only takes it to the year 2120. If you roll that exponential forward a further 180 years, there will be a million justices on the Supreme Court. They could secede and form a nation: Supremistan!


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