So, I’m listening to more podcasts these days since I live in the boonies and have to go for a longish drive to accomplish errands like grocery shopping, etc. Just caught the Pod Save America (Obama Bros.) interview with Mayor Pete Buttigieg:
What an interesting and impressive guy. Transcript here, and a couple of excerpts below.
First, on what he’d focus on first as president:
I think the first thing you have to do is move on democratic reform. It’s kind of the way this Congress decided rightly to start in the House side on H.R. 1. And it’s not because I have any illusion that that’s one of the easier things to do or even that some of the things we need to do can happen quickly. I mean we’re talking about building a cathedral on some of these reforms when it comes to what it might take to reverse Citizens United or to do away with the electoral college or to have more depoliticized Supreme Court. But I think you launch that on day one as a signal that we’re living in a time when we’ve got to fix the engine of our democracy because every other issue that I care about, from gun violence to climate change, isn’t going to get better as long as our democracy is this warped.
When asked about court packing:
So to me, the question is less, you know, do we in February 2019 have the right flavor of Supreme Court reform figured out, more that we should in the course of this 2020 campaign have a debate over this central objective that is to prevent the Supreme Court from continuing on this trajectory to become basically ruined by being a nakedly political institution. So to me, this idea of adding justices is one way to do it. It may actually not be the most compelling way to do it. I mean I’m interested in a policy where you would have five appointees of Republicans and five of Democrats on a 15 member court. And where you get the other five from is a consensus of the other 10 which has to be unanimous. That’s one way to reduce the political stakes. Another way to do it is to rotate people up from the appellate bench. By the way some of these things could probably be done statutorily. I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I’m told that some of these things would not require a change to the Constitution just like you know the number of justices today is not set in the Constitution. The point is not do we court packed, do we not court pack. The point is what do we do to stop this from becoming a political institution where every time there’s a vacancy you have this apocalyptic ideological battle that makes the court and the country as a whole worse off.
The whole interview is worth a read/listen, IMO. I don’t think he’s going to be the nominee, but I hope Buttigieg makes it to the debate stage. He’s got some interesting ideas.