Dictionary.com changed its definition of “court packing,” and, in response to a Twitter user’s acknowledgment of the change, said that “language evolves.”
J.D. Graham, the Twitter user that pointed out the redefinition, was responding to a tweet criticizing a Playboy reporter for implying that Republicans packed the courts, presumably by filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with President Donald Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
“Language evolves. So do we,” Dictionary.com’s official Twitter account responded to the tweet.
Latest capture on 11/1: https://t.co/3MdrEMAmnx
— J. D. Graham (@jd_graham_) December 8, 2020
Language evolves. So do we.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) December 8, 2020
A Nov. 1 archive shows a definition of court packing that is based off of U.S. history, specifically Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “unsuccessful attempt … in 1937 to appoint up to six additional justices to the Supreme Court, which had invalidated a number of his New Deal laws.”
A month later, the primary definition changed. As of Dec. 1, the definition of the term was “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.”
Why won’t the GOP admit they DID? https://t.co/pye2TVIqxY
— Brian J. Karem (@BrianKarem) December 8, 2020
They’re still pretending that “packed the courts” means something totally different than what it actually means. https://t.co/JRvFFQL4EB
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) December 8, 2020
“Why won’t Democrats admit that they want to pack the Supreme Court?” Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan tweeted.
“Why won’t the GOP admit they DID?” Brian J. Karem tweeted in response.
Following Ginsburg’s death, some Democrats talked of expanding the number of justices on the court to counter a conservative majority. Roosevelt had attempted to add up to 6 justices after the Supreme Court struck down his New Deal legislation, but failed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Democrats in October for their alleged attempts to redefine court packing “to mean any judicial confirmation that disappoints” them. (RELATED: ‘Abuse of Power’ — McConnell Slams Democrats Over Court Packing, Says They ‘Refuse To Give A Straight Answer’)
“A prominent philosopher wrote that when leaders abuse language, it is because they seek to abuse power. Anyone who studied U.S. history in high school knows that ‘court-packing’ has a clear definition: A partisan attempt to expand the Supreme Court beyond nine seats, so new Justices can be added despite the Court having no vacancies,” McConnell said in a statement.
“It is not ‘court-packing’ when the Senate confirms nominees to fill actual vacancies.”
Biden said that he wouldn’t give an answer about court packing until at least 180 days after becoming president.