“Court packing” has meant the same thing since the term was devised to describe what President Roosevelt attempted in 1930, when he became frustrated with the conservative Supreme Court’s repeated ly finding his Depression programs unconstitutional. FDR decided to change the structure SCOTUS itself to allow him to create a liberal majority, expanding the number of justices so Roosevelt could appoint political allies. It was the expansion of the Court that was instantly dubbed “packing the court”; the expression had never been used before. “Packing the court” or “court packing” immediately sparked a negative backlash from the public and press: even Roosevelt’s supporters found the plan to be an ominous effort to change the rules when the existing system didn’t produce the results the President desired. FDR was forced to abandon his court-packing plan, and ever since, for 90 years, “court packing” has meant what FDR proposed…increasing the size of the Supreme Court to create an ideological majority suiting the President in power.
But when Democrats announced that their revenge for the President adding consrvatice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court would be to “pack the court,” they declared that “packing the court” was what the Republican had been doing by confirming Trump’s three nominees during his term, so their intention was fair and reasonable “tit for tat.” Coincidentally, Dictionary.com conveniently changed its definition of “court packing” to accommodate the Democratic Party’s rationalization sometime during November, sparking this Twitter thread: