DNC's Perez Joins Liberal Activists Hoping to Pack Supreme Court

Perez delivered remarks to group plotting response to Kavanaugh confirmation

Tom Perez
Tom Perez / Getty Images
December 9, 2018

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez delivered remarks during a Demand Justice event where liberal activists pushed radical proposals such as packing the Supreme Court with additional justices if Democrats regain power.

Demand Justice, a group run by former Hillary Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon that took a leading role in the fight against Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation, hosted a Wednesday night discussion on solutions to fix a "court in crisis" now that Donald Trump has gotten two justices confirmed in his first two years in office.

Fallon introduced Perez with a speech on how proposals to "meaningfully reform the Supreme Court" need to be part of the Democratic presidential primary discussion.

"We must look at ideas like expanding the number of justices on the Court, to ensure that a future Democratic president might have the chance to fill two or more seats," Fallon said. "Some sort of reform must be part of the 2020 discussion, and we're hoping to start that discussion today."

Perez did not specifically argue for the proposal to pack the court or other recommendations such as impeaching Kavanaugh or installing term limits for justices, but he did characterize the "reform proposals" that were being offered during the event as "practical suggestions."

"What I'm not going to do tonight, because there's a panel of remarkable experts to do it, is get into the critical minutia of what we do from here," Perez said to the crowd of liberal activists.

"I'm confident you'll come away from here with a blueprint of practical suggestions," Perez added. "I've been in many foxholes with all of you, and I'll get in a foxhole with you all any day of the week."

The first panel following remarks from Perez featured Todd Tucker, who just last month released a report calling for "adding justices to the bench through Court expansion." He has been a longtime advocate for court packing, arguing in June that it would be the best response to the "conservative majority’s support of Trumpism."

The second and final panel of the event featured two vocal advocates for court packing, liberal activists Elie Mystal and Sean McElwee.

Both offered impassioned arguments for court packing during the event.

McElwee, also a leading advocate for abolishing ICE, had written before the event started that he was excited to make the case for court packing alongside Perez.

"I’ll be in DC with the actual chair of the DNC making the case for Court expansion," he wrote.

Perez and the DNC have not made any public statements for or against packing the Court if Democrats are able to gain power in 2020. The DNC did not respond to a request for comment on whether it views court packing as a winning issue for the party this election cycle.

Fallon also did not respond to an inquiry into whether he had discussed court packing with Perez.

The full event can be viewed on Demand Justice's Facebook page.