'Packing courts is a play right out of the socialist handbook,' said New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis.
Republicans have devised a new definition for the term socialism: anything we don't support.
According to Merriam-Webster, socialism is defined principally as "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods."
But congressional Republicans accused their Democratic colleagues and President Joe Biden this week of being socialists for considering reforms to the Supreme Court.
"Biden is dead set on packing the Supreme Court with activist justices who will rubber stamp the Socialists' anti-America agenda," tweeted Rep Mo. Brooks of Alabama on Wednesday. Biden has not endorsed any changes to the court, but signed an executive order on April 9 to create a commission to study various proposals for reforming it.
After a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill on Thursday to increase the number of Supreme Court justices from nine to 13, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted, "Democrats want to add 4 new justices to the Supreme Court of their choosing to force their socialist agenda on the American people. They would rather dismantle this nation than dignify the Constitution. It should scare every single American."
"Packing courts is a play right out of the socialist handbook," charged New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. "Hugo Chavez packed Venezuela's Court from 20 to 32 judges to tilt 45,000 rulings in his favor and destroy a nation. We can not and will not allow it here."
In a Fox News appearance on Friday, Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin made a similar argument. "This is exactly what socialists do. We see this over and over again, when they try to take over a country — they, once they get in power, they try to take over the courts."
National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer said in February that this is his party's playbook for the 2022 elections: repeatedly accuse Democrats of being socialists who want to kill jobs.
Although Biden has expressly said he is not a socialist and very few congressional Democrats have actually endorsed socialism, Republicans have simply continued applying the terms to everything they oppose.
Brooks has said that temporarily letting members of the House work remotely during the pandemic, making sure the votes of Black Americans aren't suppressed, and offering legal protections for undocumented people brought to the United States by their families as kids are all socialism.
Mullin said in February that a $15-an-hour minimum wage was a "socialist" plot to "add $54B to the deficit and devastate small businesses recovering from the pandemic."
New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who cosponsored the For the People Act in the last Congress, decried the pro-democracy and voting rights legislation in March as ""socialism ... served on a platter."
Numerous GOP lawmakers also attacked Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan for pandemic relief as a socialist wish list and are now attempting defeat his $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan with the same bogus claim. Georgia Rep. Rick Allen tweeted on April 5 that the "'infrastructure' plan is just a Trojan horse to advance socialist Green New Deal priorities."
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted, "72+ radical Socialists introduced a resolution to EXPEL me from Congress" over her calls for violence against Democratic lawmakers and her record of racist, antisemitic, and Islamophobic attacks.
Donald Trump and his allies used similar attacks during his unsuccessful campaign for reelection in 2020.
These latest attacks come as Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated at their inability to make Biden and policy proposals unpopular with the public.
"Biden is a horrible villain for us," one Senate staffer told Politico this week, lamenting the GOP's inability to turn people against him.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.