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By Lakie Derrick

The single most important document in the United States’ history, second only to the Bible, is the Constitution. Through much hard work and thought, our founding fathers crafted the document that ensures “certain unalienable Rights’’ to all Americans.

These rights are being threatened every day by progressive lawmakers pushing to pack our Supreme Court. How can you use your voice to help ensure that the Supreme Court remains an independent branch of government? The answer is simple — learn all that you can and speak up.

At East Tennessee State University where I am a rising sophomore, I have had the opportunity to take classes discussing the workings of our government. The beauty of our judicial branch of government is that it remains completely independent of the other two branches.

Our Supreme Court sees to it that the laws our elected officials pass are constitutional. This plan to pack the Supreme Court will utterly disrupt our government’s system of checks and balances. If the Supreme Court becomes a political battleground that pushes agenda over precedence and partisanship over constitutionality, our freedoms, as we now know them, will be completely eradicated.

If the progressive lawmakers now pushing to pack the Supreme Court to 13 justices succeed, what will stop future conservative lawmakers from extending the court to 19 in retaliation? Will the madness of court packing extend to 30 or 40 justices?

That is why the Keep Nine Amendment is a nonpartisan bill. Originally co-sponsored by Collin Peterson (D-MN) in the House and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the Senate, Keep Nine has gained traction and is now sponsored by more than 200 members of Congress and a growing number of state legislative chambers, governors, lieutenant governors, attorneys general, secretaries of state, treasurers and auditors. Right here at home, both houses of the Tennessee Legislature have passed resolutions urging Congress to propose the amendment, and it has been supported by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. Bill Hagerty, Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and many other Tennessee congressmen and women.

The history of court packing goes back to President Franklin Roosevelt. He proposed a scheme to pack the Supreme Court at a time when much of his New Deal was being declared unconstitutional by the sitting Supreme Court justices. Court packing would have allowed FDR to see his New Deal plans passed without limitations because the check and balance system of our federal government would be a thing of the past.

Packing the Supreme Court with his political allies would have allowed FDR to push his policy even further because he would have had no one to question the constitutionality of his programs. Justice Owen Roberts joined the side of freedom and voted no to FDR’s court-packing scheme, giving the Supreme Court a 5-4 majority. He has been credited in judicial annals as “the switch that saved the nine.”

The role of the judicial branch is simply to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by the legislative branch. The court-packing scheme of FDR is the court-packing scheme of our modern-day progressive lawmakers. It is imperative that we save the nine, but how can we ensure the Supreme Court stays free of a partisan political agenda? The answer is simple — the Keep Nine Amendment. Progressive lawmakers have already voiced their support for court packing and ending the filibuster. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) said, “When Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.”

If the Supreme Court’s authority is breached, nothing will stand in the way of lawmakers, regardless of political affiliation, from controlling our lives with partisan policy laws.

The preservation of our Supreme Court is imperative to the preservation of our Constitution and future of America. If you do not want the government to completely control health care, education, gun ownership, policing and many other issues, you must support the Keep Nine Amendment now.

President Joe Biden has already established a commission to study expanding the Supreme Court. While court packing is an unlikely possibility for Democrats this election cycle, it could be just over the horizon. If the Democratic Party retains both branches of Congress in 2022 or it wins a supermajority in future elections, this partisan destruction of the Supreme Court is bound to take place.

While the ratification of a new amendment is no easy task, I firmly believe that it is up to us to fight the dangers of a packed Supreme Court. Take, for example, the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment. This amendment took years to get passed, but through the hard work and dedication of so many women and men, it became ratified by Tennessee, the final state, on Aug. 18, 1920. The Nineteenth Amendment is now approaching its 101st anniversary, proving that amendments are possible and worth the fight to see them passed into law.

The Supreme Court is not meant to be an avenue to push partisan policy, and we must hold our lawmakers responsible to ensure the protection of our Constitution. Alexis de Tocqueville, a famous French historian and lover of America said, “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

I call on you to be the good in America. Care about your nation. Love your nation and do anything in your power to preserve her. Be the good by speaking up for a permanent change that will remove the ability of our Congress to destroy the independence of the judicial branch. Be good for America’s future and support the Keep Nine Amendment!

Visit KeepNine.org and urge the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court to include the Keep Nine Amendment.

Lakie Derrick is a student at East Tennessee State University.

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