Why Dictionary.com changed their definition of 'court packing'
Washington (USA) December 9: Dictionary.com came under scrutiny from some Twitter users Tuesday after the online lexicon adjusted its definition of "court packing."
Dictionary.com now lists the definition as the "practice of changing the number or composition of judges on a court, making it more favorable to particular goals or ideologies, and typically involving an increase in the number of seats on the court."
The website originally referenced President Franklin Roosevelt's proposed Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, which sought to expand the court from the nine standing justices to 15, in an attempt to add justices that he believed would interpret the constitution in his favor - though he was unsuccessful in adding any additional justices to the high court's bench.
"Court packing can tip the balance of the Supreme Court toward the right or left," Dicitionary.com states.
But some thought the change in the website's definition was an indicator of Democrat-based leanings.
However, the change in definition is likely to clarify for site visitors the meaning of the phrase as it is used today, opposed to the historical references - although, the definition has not changed.
In recent months the term "court packing" or "packing the courts" has become a common phrase after the death of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Democrats, outraged at the GOP's push to appoint a justice just one week prior to the general election, in turn threatened to "pack the courts" if Biden were to win.
The Supreme Court became a major issue in the 2020 presidential election, and for every member of Congress too - particularly when it came to Republicans in vulnerable races, like Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
Gardner, like other GOP candidates up for election last November, faced criticism for what voters deemed hypocritical legislating, when Gardner sided with the then-GOP led Senate and blocked President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in March 2016.
"[T]he next president of the United States should have the opportunity to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court," Gardner wrote in a press release eight months before Election Day. "Our next election is too soon and the stakes are too high; the American people deserve a role in this process."
But Gardner then supported Trump's third Supreme court nomination, just one month prior to the general election.
Gardner lost his race to Democrat John Hickenlooper, who like Biden, remained mum on his stance on court packing in the lead up to the election -- as the subject had become a hot button issue.
The number of justices permitted on the Supreme Court is not fixed, and the debate over how many justices should or should not be permitted to sit on the nation's highest court goes back to 1801.
President John Adams and his party, the Federalist-led Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1801, reducing the court to five justices from six, in an attempt to limit President-elect Thomas Jefferson from any Supreme Court appointments.
Jefferson repealed the act and the high court saw a recurrent fluctuation of justices until 1869.
Nine justices have sat on the court since, though there have been attempts to place a limit on the number of Supreme Court justices over the years.
Source: Fox News