The Orwellian Redefinition of Court-Packing: Part II
A few weeks ago I wrote about the left’s Orwellian redefinition of court-packing here in The Beacon. Court-packing has meant an attempt to appoint additional Supreme Court Justices beyond the customary nine since 1937, when President Franklin Roosevelt proposed it to produce a Court more favorable to his initiatives.
Some on the left were claiming that President Trump’s nomination of candidates to fill vacancies to bring the number of Justices back up to nine was court-packing. They were attempting to redefine court-packing to legitimize and encourage a future attempt by President-elect Biden to add Justices to the Court.
To support the long-standing definition of court-packing, I referred to the definition found at www.dictionary.com. I was genuinely shocked to discover that since I made that post, dictionary.com has also changed their definition in that same Orwellian way.
On November 1, dictionary.com gave this definition of court-packing: “an unsuccessful attempt by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 to appoint up to six additional justices to the Supreme Court, which had invalidated a number of his New Deal laws.” That’s what court-packing has meant since 1937. By December 1 dictionary.com had changed its definition. The old definition remains as the number two definition, and the first definition of court-packing, according to dictionary.com, is now “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.”
This is almost too Orwellian to believe. Some Democrats accused President Trump of court-packing because he appointed Justices to fill vacancies on the Court, and within a month dictionary.com changed its definition to correspond with what was obviously an Orwellian political maneuver to redefine the term for political gain. I was surprised that some Democrats thought they could get away with this obvious bit of deception, but I am completely astounded that dictionary.com would go along with this.
According to dictionary.com, court-packing, which had a specific meaning since it was used in 1937, has now changed its meaning within the last few weeks!
How does dictionary.com decide what words mean? Their website says this: “Dictionary.com’s main, proprietary source is the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, which is continually updated by our team of experienced lexicographers and supplemented with trusted, established sources including American Heritage and Harper Collins to support a range of language needs.”
Apparently, when some people try to redefine terms for their political advantage, that falls under the heading of “language needs,” and from now on, when a president nominates someone to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, that fits dictionary.com’s new definition of court-packing.
It (almost) goes without saying that presidents will always appoint candidates whose views on the law are consistent with their own. Dictionary.com’s Orwellian redefinition of court-packing removes all meaning from the term. According to them, court-packing means the same thing as nominating Justices to serve on the Court.
Our thoughts are expressed in words. If people can control the language by redefining words, they can control our thoughts. Some Democrats have tried to do this by redefining court-packing, and they have the support of dictionary.com.