3/17/2019—Just back from the well-organized and insightful symposium on voting rights at the Memphis Law School—maybe the most impressive law school building in the nation (the old customs house in downtown Memphis). Thanks to the marvelous law review staff.
I was the final speaker, late in the day. But energy did not flag when people realized what I was talking about. The responses depended on the orientation of the questioner.
Certainly, the major response was surprise. People had no idea that Court-packing was so likely to be attempted. It helped that Beto O’Rourke endorsed something like it when he announced.
The response by moderates was agreement—I did not hear from anyone really on the Right. I suppose they would have been even more grim. And the agreement was not just about Court-packing, but my more basic point about the destruction of democratic life itself.
There was also the fatalist response—this too shall pass. People are always doing terrible things and we don’t self-destruct—an absolutely true observation, until we do destruct.
Finally, there is the response from the Left—you are telling us to disarm while the Republicans win. This will be the response most difficulty to overcome. Steven Mulroy, a speaker and professor at Memphis, made a creative suggestion that the Democrats use Court-packing as a threat to force bipartisan agreement on an amendment to create term limits for Justices. Certainly that would be better than Court-packing and it would limit the control of the Court that Republican believe they will have for the next 25 or 30 years.
Hard to arrange though, unless you have already overcome the mutual anger of the moment.