No, I am not speaking of the kindly and gentleman who welcomed children to his neighborhood on television. I am referring to Tom Rogers, the one-time head of NBC Cable. Rogers is not a household name. He pretty much stays out of the limelight – occasionally appearing on his home-grown programs on NBC and MSNBC.
By way of introduction, Rogers is the guy who founded such uber left-wing media outlets as CNBC and MSNBC when he served as Executive Vice President of the parent company, NBC. According to his resume, while at NBC, Rogers served as “chief strategist.” Seems like an odd title for an organization that is simply supposed to present news in a fair and balanced manner. His apparent strategy was to create a dependable information source for Democrats and the political left. He did so by creating CNBC as a business channel and the even more biased MSNBC as the political voice of the left.
The appreciation expressed in the title of the commentary is offered because of Rogers’ latest left-wing “strategy.” He presented his latest attack on a two-party, two-philosophy and two-opinion America in a guest column entitled “Neutralizing the Nuclear Option” that was highlighted during his appearance on … where else? … MSNBC.
Since it is likely that President Trump will nominate a solid conservative to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy – and that such a nominee will most likely be confirmed after a nasty partisan fight in the Senate – and that Trump may well have another appointment or two in the future – Rogers has a plan … no, a scheme … to bring the Supreme Court back to a liberal majority. It is not really a new idea, but the return to an earlier effort to achieve the same goal.
Only true students of American history would know that the number of justices who sit on the Supreme Court is not stated in the Constitution. That number is determined by the United States Congress as a matter of law. Consequently, it can be changed by Congress, and has been changed a number of times in the 1800s.
Best known was the more recent attempt by President Franklin Roosevelt to “pack the Court.” When FDR assumed the presidency, he faced a rather conservative (meaning constitutionalist) Court. They struck down several of his authoritarian and abuse of power actions. In response, FDR proposed the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 to add six new seats to the highest court in the land. That would give him and the radical left control of the federal court system. It would have obliterated the essential concept of three equal branches of government that is so critical to our nation’s freedom.
Rogers is now promoting the same concept for the same reasons. The left just cannot accept the consequences of elections that they do not win. Whenever they lose, they want to change the system that has worked for a lot of years.
At this point, the Rogers scheme is hypothetical and speculative. He suggests that if the Court were to have a conservative majority of 6 to 3 or 7 to 2 by the year 2020, the Democrats could, and should, increase the size of the Court.
To do this, Democrats would have to win control of both houses of Congress and the White House in the next few years. They would have to win the Senate by a super majority to pass such legislation under the current rules. Of course, Rogers would simply change the rules to enable the Senate to vote on a court packing bill by a simple majority. That, too, is nothing new. Democrats did away with the supermajority for all federal judges except Supreme Court justices under President Obama and the Republicans followed suit under Trump by doing away with the supermajority for the high court justices.
This is a scheme that is so far out of touch with the American culture and psyche that it could only be advanced by a denizen of the east coast media bubble. And Rogers is more than a denizen of the liberal bubble culture, he has been one of the principal architects. He, as much as anyone, has driven news reporting to liberal proselytization.
Rogers should recall that Roosevelt, at the height of his power and with Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress, could not get his corruptive legislation passed. Roosevelt’s own Vice President John Nance Garner even opposed the proposal. The public outcry was enormous and there were enough patriots in Congress to defend against FDR’s untoward ambition.
But, why did I thank Rogers in the headline for his proposal?
Very simple. Putting that proposal out in the public forum will scare a lot of people – Republicans, conservatives, independents and even a lot of Democrats. As if open borders, sanctuary cities, abolishing ICE, tax increases, taxpayer funded college, single-payer healthcare, cutting the defense budgets, threats of impeachment and a plethora of other left-wing proposals are not sufficient to drive voters to the Republican Party, Rogers’ idea may represent the tipping point.
There is much discussion in the media these days concerning the public’s feeling about the Supreme Court. Many in liberal media land lament their belief that Republicans care more about the Supreme Court than do Democrats. They even now say it is THE issue that got Trump elected. That argument implies that without concern about the future appointments to the Supreme Court, Trump would have lost. Think about that for a moment. (I will wait).
That means maybe millions of good Americans – many without strong partisan views – voted for a man about whom they had deep concerns because they did not want the Democrats, specifically Hillary Clinton, appointing people to the Supreme Court. That sentiment has probably not changed a lot since most folks seem to be very happy with the appointment of Neil Gorsuch. Make the Supreme Court a major issue, and the Democrats may be in for another shock on Election Day 2018.
In the game of political one-upmanship, the Republicans in Congress could pass a constitutional amendment and send it off to the several states – two-thirds of which are in GOP hands – to fix the number of Supreme Court justices at nine. This is the number that has worked for approximately 150 years.
But for the time being … thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Rogers, for helping the Republican Party and the conservative movement. I, for one, will help you promote your Democratic Party proposal as much as I can.