If it looks and feels like political blackmail, it usually is. That is what the Supreme Court faced when Democratic lawmakers tried to make the justices an offer they cannot refuse. For the sake of our liberties, we should all hope that the justices reject their unrealistic demand.
Here is how it happened. New York City is being sued over one of the most restrictive gun laws, one that effectively makes it illegal to have a firearm anywhere except in a home or on the way to a gun range. But Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand have claimed that there is no constitutional problem with the law, and they want the Supreme Court to agree.
In an unprecedented act of political aggression, the five Democratic senators filed an amicus brief warning the Supreme Court, a coequal branch of the federal government, that its very future would be at stake if it ruled against New York City. The brief hardly wastes time on legal arguments, or even tries to address the clear interpretation that the original meaning of the Second Amendment applies to individuals, which the Supreme Court laid out in landmark rulings in District of Columia versus Dick Heller and Otis McDonald versus City of Chicago.
Instead, the senators cite polling data claiming Americans believe that the Supreme Court often rules based on politics. They also challenged its “legitimacy” if the justices refuse to take up this case. The euphemism the senators use is the Supreme Court must “heal itself.” The ultimatum is backed by a powerful threat. If the Supreme Court refuses to go along, the senators warn, it will be “restructured.” The message is to let New York City pave the way for the nationwide agenda against gun rights that Democrats are planning to enact if they win the White House.
Everyone knows what “restructuring” refers to, of course, because Democrats have used this political tactic before. It is a euphemism for court packing, or adding more justices. The veiled threat to pack the Supreme Court is eerily reminiscent of the plan by President Roosevelt to do the same thing during the 1930s when the Supreme Court stood in the way of the massive expansion of federal power that he sought.
It is also clear from both history and the words of Whitehouse, Hirono, Blumenthal, Durbin, and Gillibrand that the American people simply cannot afford to let control of any of the three branches of the federal government fall into the hands of the Democrats. Based on their threat to the Supreme Court, to give them control of two branches would mean effectively handing them unchecked control of the third branch as well.
Even if some coalition of Republicans and reasonable Democrats were to prevent this reincarnated court packing scheme, the history of the New Deal era shows us that the Supreme Court might still cave to the pressure from the left. Back in 1937, the Supreme Court abandoned its original understanding of the commerce clause of the Constitution and rubber stamped the rest of the New Deal, ushering in the long era of federal dominance that we are familiar with in the United States today.
These senators know their history. They know sustained pressure and prolonged control can potentially intimidate even Supreme Court justices into giving up on making a principled defense of the Constitution. This worked in 1937, and they are trying to do it again. Today, our gun rights are at stake. Tomorrow, it could be our cherished freedom of speech.
It is up to us as citizens to keep a check against the Democrats who want to restructure our system of government in the United States. We can do that by reelecting President TrumpDonald TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased MORE and by electing members of Congress who will fight for our Constitution and fight for our rights for years to come so these tyrannical nightmares will never become a reality.
Madison Gesiotto is an attorney and a commentator who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. She was an inauguration spokesperson and former Miss Ohio. She is on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.