Rick Hasen has an op/ed entitled In the future, John Roberts could be the Supreme Court's swing vote. Hasen argues that Chief Justice Roberts could before the swing vote, but it ends with the following:
The only real solution is for Democrats to pray for the current justices’ good health — and then to take back the presidency and the Senate. And once they do, perhaps they’ll play hardball themselves by increasing the number of justices on the court and packing it with liberals.
The link is to a piece on Above the Law by Elie Mystal entitled Court Packing Is The Way To Save The Court From The U.S. Senate.
If Republicans believed that court packing is a realistic possibility, the obvious counter-move is preemptive court packing. Expand the Court to twenty-seven now so as to require Democrats to expand the Court to forty-nine to regain a majority. Downward spiral of politicization, indeed.
One might think that court packing is simply inconceivable, but history suggests otherwise. For discussion, see Barry Cushman, Court Packing and Compromise. Here is the abstract:
President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1937 Court-packing bill would have permitted him to appoint six additional justices to the Supreme Court, thereby expanding its membership to fifteen immediately. Throughout the ultimately unsuccessful campaign to enact the measure, Roosevelt was presented with numerous opportunities to compromise for a measure authorizing the appointment of fewer additional justices. The President rejected each of these proposals, and his refusal to compromise often has been attributed to stubbornness, overconfidence, or hubris. Yet an examination of the papers of Attorney General Homer S. Cummings reveals why FDR and his advisors believed that he required no fewer than six additional appointments in order to secure a liberal working majority on the Court. Those sources also help to clarify why the substitute Court bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Joseph Robinson in July of 1937 took the form that it did, and why Robinson’s untimely death that month not only made passage of the bill impossible, but also made it unnecessary. Though Roosevelt’s refusal to compromise can be seen as more rational than is commonly thought, in retrospect one can see that his Court-packing proposal was an entirely unnecessary misadventure through which the President ultimately lost far more than he gained.