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    Supreme Court Coup Explained

    SCOTUS | Supreme court Coup | First Liberty

    Exposing the Lie of Court Reform

    The U.S. Supreme Court is one of the most respected and revered institutions in America. For more than 200 years, it has been a bulwark in protecting our liberties. In many cases, the nation’s highest court is the last line of defense for those whose constitutional, God-given rights come under attack. It’s no surprise why the judiciary consistently ranks as the most trusted branch of the federal government, according to Gallup.

    Today, however, the Supreme Court and America’s judicial system are under heavy attack.

    One side of the political aisle—along with activists and organization on the extreme Left—have launched a full-scale effort to “reform” America’s courts. They claim to want to “restore balance” and “fix” the nation’s highest court. Why? Because the Court has allegedly been “stolen” or “captured.”

    The agenda behind the court “reform” movement is clear. It’s transparently ideological. Because the Supreme Court is no longer comprised of a liberal majority and rubber-stamping its agenda, the far Left is willing to trash it if the alternative is for it to remain outside their control. It’s all about one side—which includes some of the most radical groups and politicians in the country—trying to get around decisions they don’t like, stacking the courts in their favor and grabbing more power.

    Make no mistake. Court “reform” is a serious threat to our country. It needs to be called out for what it is: a Supreme Court Coup.

    If successful, this brazen power grab will:

    Americans must learn the facts, the truth and the history behind this brazen attempt to overthrow America’s judicial system.

    “Everything is on the Table”

    In their thirst for more power, the political Left appears to be unified behind the idea of “reforming” the Supreme Court by any means necessary. In their own words, “everything is on the table.”

    At a recent hearing, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin said “everything is on the table” discussing potential “ethics” codes for Supreme Court justices. Those words mirror statements by Durbin and his colleagues over the last few years. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, “everything is on the table” when it comes to Supreme Court “reform.” Sen. Chuck Schumer repeated the refrain, “everything is on the table” if his party won the majority in the midterm elections.

    The Supreme Court Coup attacks our courts from all sides. This scheme includes multiple, radical and constitutionally suspect “reforms,” such as:

    As many constitutional and legal experts explain, these so-called “reforms” have nothing to do with improving our judicial system. They have everything to do with raw power. All of these proposals boil down to the Left trying everything possible to take control of the Supreme Court, even if it means destroying some essential pillars in our system of government.

    Fabricating “Ethics” Scandals

    The push for court “reform” has gained traction recently largely because the Left is trying to manufacture an “ethics” scandal about Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court’s leading conservative and one of the foremost defenders of religious liberty. Justice Neil Gorsuch has also been the target of this smear campaign.

    The Left has kept up a steady stream of accusations against conservative-appointed justices with alleged disclosure failures, while ignoring similar omissions by liberal-appointed justices.

    First Liberty President and CEO Kelly Shackelford—joined by former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese—wrote in the Wall Street Journal the real reason behind these attacks: “Liberals are trying to subvert the legitimacy of the Supreme Court because it contains a majority of justices committed to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

    This so-called “ethics” crisis is really about destroying the Court’s credibility. Michael Mukasey, who served as U.S. Attorney General and a federal judge, says the public is being asked to hallucinate misconduct. He believes that by raising questions about a justice’s character that the Left could not only undermine their authority as a justice but undermine the authority of their rulings as well.

    Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement—who’s argued more than 100 Supreme Court cases—warns that attacks on the judiciary are “incredibly dangerous” because if you study the Supreme Court through history, its legitimacy has to be built up over time. And it’s been a careful effort that has literally taken centuries.”

    This fabricated “ethics” scandal, however, is only one tactic in a multipronged assault on the judiciary that’s been taking place for years.

    Court Packing

    Expanding the size of the U.S. Supreme Court—better known as court packing—is one of the most dangerous proposals we are facing today. Several Democratic lawmakers recently introduced a bill to pack the Supreme Court with four additional justices.

    Proponents of court-packing argue that adding more judges to our nation’s judiciary is the magical solution to many of our country’s urgent problems, and even paint the picture that expanding the court is an act of goodwill. They often claim the size of the Supreme Court has changed in the past.

    History shows, however, that changes in the size of the Supreme Court are very rare. The size of the Court has only changed a total of seven times in our nearly 250 years as a nation. In fact, the Court has been comprised of nine members since 1869.

    Beyond the Supreme Court, there’s legislation to add more than 200 new judges to the lower federal courts and require all Americans who wish to challenge the national implementation of federal laws to bring their cases to courts in the District of Columbia, where most judges are liberal appointees.

    Court packing is simply an attempt by one political party to install the justices they want, those who will do their bidding. It’s really about the Left locking in a liberal majority to get the political results they want.

    Court packing would “deform” rather than “reform” the Court. It would disfigure the original intent of the judiciary. It would reduce our nation’s most trusted institution into a partisan tool, a tribunal of political hacks and politicians in robes waiting for instructions from party headquarters. It would destroy judicial independence, an essential element in the rule of law.

    As the adage goes, “Those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it.” And history couldn’t be clearer: court-packing is a move straight from a dictator’s playbook.

    The lessons of Venezuela and Argentina warn us that expanding and packing the courts leads to a steep decline in democracy and often ends in a dictatorship. In these countries, the story reads the same: A party rises to power, adds seats to the highest court, fills them with ideologues, and then rams through laws and regulations stripping people of their liberties. Often, one of the first rights to go is the right to religious freedom.

    In 1983, then-Senator Joe Biden called court packing a “bonehead” idea—and he got it right. It would end the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court. It would destroy our Constitution’s founding principle of separation of powers, erode all public confidence in future court rulings and eradicate our cherished rights and freedoms, including religious liberty. Court-packing is the gateway to tyranny in America.

    Court Purging

    The Left has also proposed “term limits” for federal judges. They’ve proposed instituting 18-year term limits for Supreme Court justices and giving the president the power to select a new justice every two years.

    While term limits appear benign, they defy the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and are nothing more than an attempt to cancel justices. It’s better to call them “court purging.” It’s simply the Supreme Court Coup by a different name. It is packing—and effectively destroying—the Court, two years at a time.

    Life tenure for Supreme Court justices has worked well for more than 230 years and is an essential component to ensure judicial independence. Alexander Hamilton’s argument in Federalist No. 78 from The Federalist Papers is the prime defense of judicial tenure at the time of America’s Founding.

    Hamilton writes that judicial independence “can certainly not be expected from judges who hold their offices by a temporary commission.” He described a judiciary that serves with life tenure under good behavior as “certainly one of the most valuable of the modern improvements in the practice of government.” According to Hamilton, we want judges serving with life tenure because this is “the best expedient which can be devised in any government, to secure a steady, upright, and impartial administration of the laws.”

    Unlike the other branches of government, Supreme Court justices are not elected by the people every two, four or six years. America’s Founders deliberately sought to ensure justices would focus foremost on faithfully applying the law. It was a way to encourage their fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law, instead of worrying about personal gain or what’s best for them after they leave the Court.

    Judicial term limits are also constitutionally suspect. The “good behavior” clause of Article III of the Constitution—stipulating that justices “hold their offices during good behavior”—is rightly understood from English common law as an appointment for life. The term says what it means and means what it says. The judge may serve so long as he or she does nothing impeachable.

    Intimidation, Unlawful Protests and Threats

    The Supreme Court Coup also includes attacks that are far more personal: intimidation, unlawful protests outside judges’ homes and even physical threats of violence.

    In March 2020, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court where he specifically threatened Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch claiming they had “released the whirlwind” and would “pay the price.”   The Democrats’ Senate Majority Leader further warned the Kavanaugh and Gorsuch that they wouldn’t “know what hit them” if they proceed with “these awful decisions.”

    After the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson, the far Left unleashed a vicious wave of attacks against America’s highest court. Tall barricades were put up around the Court to keep protesters back from the building. To ensure their safety, justices had to leave and work from undisclosed locations.

    It didn’t take long for radical activists to make the personal information of Supreme Court justices public online. Demonstrators quickly descended outside the homes of conservative justices. Police apprehended an armed man outside Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home in Maryland who was reportedly intending to assassinate the Justice. The suspect admitted to the FBI that he was motivated in part by the leaked Dobbs draft opinion.

    Protesters encircled Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s home, and a pro-abortion group posted the name of her church and her children’s school, calling on protesters to “voice your anger” at the two locations. Reports show that Left-wing protesters are still being seen outside the homes of conservative justices chanting, “One, two, three, four: We want ethics on the court.”

    There is a difference between a constitutionally protected peaceful protest outside the Supreme Court and crowding justices’ houses to intimidate them into changing the outcome of a case. These acts of intimidation are illegal. Federal law prohibits demonstrations outside the residence of any “judge, juror, witness, or court officer” when it is “with the intent of interfering with, obstructing, or impeding the administration of justice, or with the intent of influencing any judge, juror, witness, or court officer.”

    In America, we’re free to disagree with judicial opinions. We can criticize the reasoning, logic and record of judges. Peaceably demonstrating outside the Supreme Court to express opposition to a decision is a right protected under the First Amendment. Going into a judge’s neighborhood, marching and chanting in front of his or her home is a step too far. It runs afoul to the values of our country.

    Destroying Historic Norms and Precedents 

    To ram through court “reform,” the Left has attacked some of our nation’s most important legislative traditions. They’ve proposed changing or eliminating the U.S. Senate’s filibuster, for example.

    The filibuster is an essential part of our legislative process—a necessary guardrail that protects our God-given rights from being taken away at a moment’s notice. Breaking this longstanding Senate procedural norm would open the floodgates to far-reaching legislation, policies and even radical changes to the Constitution. It would eventually give the majority party power to overhaul the membership, structure and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

    They even tossed around the far-fetched idea of ending judicial review, a historic legal doctrine dating back to 1803 that empowers the Supreme Court to declare a Legislative or Executive act unconstitutional.

    Americans Reject the Supreme Court Coup

    Nationwide polls indicate that Americans oppose expanding the size of the Court and other far-reaching changes to the judiciary. Similar survey data also suggests that Americans continue to respect our nation’s courts and their importance in the Constitution as a safeguard of our civil liberties:

    This data suggests a vast proportion of Americans are not being fooled. On the contrary, it suggests that people view the court “reform” scheme for what it really is: a brazen power-grab. They’ve discerned that it’s nothing more than a politically motivated scheme to advance the agenda of one political party.

    Sign the Declaration of Judicial Independence

    The rule of law and our judicial system are among our prized and most valuable possessions as a nation. But if the politically motivated Supreme Court Coup succeeds, the judiciary will become little more than a tool of whoever holds power. Judges will lose their ability to enforce the rule of law with impartiality, and the last safeguard to our civil liberties will be gone.

    First Liberty and a national coalition of 500,000+ patriots have signed the Declaration of Judicial Independence with a clear message: NO to court packing, NO to suspect judicial “reforms,” NO to the Supreme Court Coup.

    Join national leaders like Franklin Graham, Dr. James Dobson, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, and David & Tim Barton of Wallbuilders, plus organizations like American Family Association and Americans for Prosperity—and of course our own President & CEO, Kelly Shackelford.

    Please join us in this critical effort. We need YOU to share truth about radical court “reform” with your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. More Americans need to know the threat this scheme poses. We need to work together to help save the priceless heritage of the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Let’s stand firm and make it clear: We the People firmly oppose the Supreme Court Coup.

    Will you sign the Declaration and help us save the priceless heritage of the U.S. Supreme Court?