Republicans have packed the courts and openly 'brag about it,' top Senate Democrat complains

Republicans have packed the courts and openly ‘brag about it,’ top Senate Democrat complains


Republicans have packed the courts and openly ‘brag about it,’ top Senate Democrat complains

Republicans have packed the courts and openly ‘brag about it,’ top Senate Democrat complains

Democrats have a new deflective talking point when it comes to questions about whether they’ll attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court with more justices if they wrestle back power in Congress and in the White House this fall: Republicans already packed the courts.

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, the second-most powerful Democrat in that chamber, said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that the GOP has been openly “bragging” about filling Supreme Court and federal appeals court seats with conservative justices.

“The American people have watched the Republicans packing the court for the past three and a half years, and they brag about it,” the Illinois senator said. “We are dealing with people on the court, packing into the court, with little or no qualifications for a long time.”

Court-packing is the process of adding more judges to an existing court, whether that be the US Supreme Court, which seats nine justices, one of the 13 federal appeals court circuits — which vary in size — or any other court.

The US Constitution does not specify how many federal judges there must be, including on the Supreme Court. Congress and the president can adjust the number by passing and signing a simple bill, just like any other federal law.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has refused to say recently whether he would pack the Supreme Court to dilute the 6-3 conservative majority if Republicans successfully confirm Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Look, the only court packing is going on right now. It’s going on with the Republicans packing the court now,” Mr Biden told reporters on Saturday shortly before heading to a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.

During the Democratic primary process, Mr Biden had signaled his opposition to packing the Supreme Court.

“We add three justices — next time around, we lose control, they add three justices,” he said at a debate last year when asked about his views on the matter.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP infamously delayed dozens upon dozens of Barack Obama’s nominations to the appeals and district circuits during the last two year’s of Mr Obama’s presidency. Then, in 2016, he refused to hold any confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, whom Mr Obama nominated seven months out from the election that year.

At the time, Mr McConnell and Senate Republicans said it was too close to a presidential election to seat a Supreme Court pick.

Republicans are expected to vote on Ms Barrett’s confirmation mere days before the 2020 election, which is already underway in many states.

Mr McConnell, however, has not said whether the GOP will vote to confirm Ms Barrett before or after the election.

“She will be confirmed to be on the court in the near future,” he said in an interview with a local ABC News affiliate last week in Kentucky.


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