Court packing legislation straight out of Maduro's playbook
© Greg Nash

Since the start of this new Congress, Democrats have introduced several pieces of legislation that threaten our freedom and Democracy. The supposedly “moderate” Democrats who promised to “reach across the aisle” and work in a “bipartisan” manner are shutting down debate, introducing measures that exert unrelenting government control over private business, extending the federal government’s reach further into our wallets and gradually introducing their socialist ideology into our everyday lives in the dead of night.

Although radical, these policies pale in comparison to their latest push: packing the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American people elected us to uphold the freedoms we love and sound the alarm on dangerous policies that may come to pass. Take it from us — members of Congress who have seen the oppression of socialism firsthand. We understand that increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court would fundamentally change our republic as we currently know it.

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Look no further than Venezuela. Once a wealthy and prosperous regional power, the South American country is now on the brink of complete and total destruction due to the socialist and authoritarian policies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. Venezuelans are left to scavenge for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Those who dare to publicly criticize the government are incarcerated, tortured and in some cases executed.

After Chavez took power in 1999, he immediately began to dismantle the constitutional order in Venezuela, one that closely mirrored our own federal government. After a number of unfavorable rulings against his administration by the independent judiciary, Chavez took executive action in 2004 to expand the number of justices on Venezuela’s highest court from 20 to 32. He packed the courts with judges loyal to his regime, and in return, they ruled in his favor 45,000 times.

Chavez’s undemocratic decision to pack the courts destroyed his people’s last hope for a checked and balanced government. He used the courts as a tool of the regime, effectively stealing the power of the Venezuelan Parliament and silencing the voices of his people.

Chavez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolas Maduro, replaced 13 Justices who continued to rule with unfettered loyalty towards the regime. This only further destroyed the nation, decayed judicial independence and the courts’ ability to carry out their duties without influence. The legacy of socialism in Venezuela was cemented.

Venezuela today is the antithesis of democracy. It is not freedom, it is socialism at its ugliest. The same socialism that took the economic envy of Latin America and turned it into a landscape of unemployment, crime, and extreme poverty. The same socialism Democrats in our Congress are proposing today.

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Any effort to pack our Supreme Court is an outrage. It would permanently end our separate but equal branches of government by ceding complete control of the judiciary to the legislative and executive branches. Not only should this legislation be opposed, but it should also be condemned to the fullest extent. In fact, it has. The late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgCourt watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress Schumer waiting for recommendation on Supreme Court expansion MORE vehemently opposed attempts to expand the court, claiming, “If anything [expanding the court] would make the court appear partisan…So I am not at all in favor of that solution to what I see as a temporary situation.”

To pile on, in 1983, then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) called President Roosevelt’s plan to expand the Supreme Court a “bonehead idea,” admitting it would put into question “the independence of the most significant body,” in the United States of America. Now 38 years later, President BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE has unveiled a commission charged with studying the possible expansion of the Supreme Court. It’s ironic how our president’s opinion on the court has changed now when he must answer to the progressive faction of his party that’s at the wheel.

Proposals made in socialist or communist regimes have no place in America, but today it’s as if some in Congress are looking at Maduro as a role model. We cannot allow radical ideologues to transform our courts in desperate attempts to serve their political agenda. Centralizing power is something dictators do, and we will fight tooth and nail against any power grab that attempts to change our government in such a militant manner.

Carlos Gimenez represents Florida’s 26th District and Nicole Malliotakis represents New York’s 11th District.