In a poignant speech, Senator Lee warns against political interference with judicial independence and highlights alleged threats to conservative Justices.
In a rousing speech given on a recent YouTube video, Senator Mike Lee castigated Democrats for their continued attempts to undermine the Supreme Court by discrediting conservative justices and pushing for an increase in the number of justices, a tactic commonly referred to as "court packing."
Lee focused on the sustained attacks on Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, whom he accused Democrats and left-leaning groups of trying to discredit over the past three decades. According to Lee, these attacks are a way for the left to intimidate those who don't align with their ideologies.
"The left simply disagrees with his [Justice Thomas'] decisions and with the decisions of our current Supreme Court. They're attempting to destroy the Court's credibility and intimidate the Republican-appointed justices and their families, starting with Justice Thomas," Lee said. "They're making clear that justices who disagree with them will pay a price, and it's a price that the radical left is determined to ensure is very high."
These tactics, Lee argued, resemble a "thuggish shakedown" of the Supreme Court. He cited specific instances, like Senator Chuck Schumer's 2020 comments threatening Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh with reprisals if they made "awful decisions."
Lee also referred to a 2019 amicus brief filed by five Democratic senators, which suggested a potential restructuring of the Supreme Court to reduce the influence of politics. He claimed that such threats led to increased protests targeting the homes, churches, and children's schools of the conservative Justices and their families.
The senator went on to express outrage over a recent suggestion by Democratic senators to defund the Supreme Court's requested police protection for the Justices and their families unless they comply with certain demands. This, according to Lee, is a deliberate attempt to harass and intimidate justices appointed by Republican presidents, forcing them to bend to the left's radical policy agenda.
He also criticized the media's alleged bias in covering the Supreme Court, suggesting that outlets like The New York Times, Politico, and ProPublica unfairly portray justices appointed by Republican presidents as reckless and corrupt, while those appointed by Democrats are depicted as virtuous and conscientious.
This is not the first time that there have been proposals to pack the Supreme Court.
Franklin D. Roosevelt's attempts to pack the Supreme Court in the 1930s remains a significant episode that is often criticized for its implications on the balance of power. FDR's proposal aimed to expand the number of Supreme Court justices to ensure favorable rulings for his New Deal policies. However, this maneuver was met with strong opposition from both Republicans and Democrats who viewed it as an overreach of executive power and a threat to the independence of the judiciary.
Ultimately, FDR's court-packing plan failed to materialize, but its controversial nature continues to resonate in discussions about separation of powers and the integrity of the judicial branch. Drawing a parallel to the Senate Democrats' use of the nuclear option, which refers to changing the rules to eliminate the filibuster for certain nominations, some argue that both instances demonstrate a willingness to manipulate institutional structures for short-term political gains.
Critics contend that such actions erode the checks and balances that have long been integral to the American system of governance, undermining the principles of democratic deliberation and the preservation of individual rights.
Senator Lee concluded his speech with a plea for a halt to such tactics, which he believes serve to delegitimize and denigrate the court. "We cannot afford to delegitimize and denigrate the court in this way. It must stop," he concluded.