As questions swirl around whether Democrats would push to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court if they win control of the Senate and the White House, some Republican senators are introducing legislation to prevent that from happening.
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), and Kelly Loeffler (Ga.) introduced the proposals on Monday.
The first proposal is a constitutional amendment that would block the expansion of the Court — commonly called court packing. The other proposal would “stop Democrats from unilaterally passing any court-packing legislation in the United States Senate.”
In a statement, Cruz said, “Make no mistake, if Democrats win the election, they will end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court, expanding the number of justices to advance their radical political agenda, entrenching their power for generations, and destroying the foundations of our democratic system. We must take action before election day to safeguard the Supreme Court and the constitutional liberties that hang in the balance.”
He also blasted Democrats to refocus the debate about court packing on Senate Republicans’ move to fill judicial vacancies during President Donald Trump’s tenure.
“When it comes to our fundamental liberties – our religious liberty, our freedom of speech, our Second Amendment rights – we are often one vote away from losing them on the Supreme Court. For the sake of our liberties and the future of our country, we must preserve our independent judiciary. These proposals would do just that,” he added.
Tillis accused Democrats of plotting to expand the Supreme Court because they were “unable to implement their job-killing plans through the Democratic process.”
As Republicans moved forward with the confirmation process for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, some Democrats argued that the Senate should expand the Court if their party regains control of the chamber in the November elections.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said, “If we happen to be in the fact pattern where we have a President Biden, we’ll have to look at what the right steps are to rebalance our federal judiciary.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has been reluctant to give a direct answer on whether he would support expanding the Court.
Republicans have blasted Biden for not answer whether he supports the move. McSally noted his reluctance to answer the question and claimed Democrats would pack the Court — which is why she views these proposals as necessary.
“Some Democrats reluctance to even answer whether they would pack the Court proves a far more frightening reality. The left will first deceive the American people and then use any tool at their disposal to gain power and force their radical agenda on them. Our bills are critical to thwarting any efforts to fundamentally transform the Supreme Court, keeping the number of Justices at nine as it has been for over 150 years.”
But, during a town hall event on Thursday, Biden said he would reveal his position on court-packing “depending on how they handle [Barrett’s nomination].”