Democratic Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts has vowed that if Democrats do not get their way regarding the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he will wage a scorched-earth campaign to ensure Democrats control the Senate and court.
“Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court,” Markey tweeted.
Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.
— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) September 19, 2020
McConnell has said that if President Donald Trump submits a nominee for the vacancy to the Senate, the Senate will act. In 2016, McConnell did not act on former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.
Markey’s tweet assumes American voters will hand control of the Senate to Democrats this fall. The statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight currently projects that as a possibility, reporting that in 57 percent of its scenarios, Democrats take control of the Senate, which currently has a 53-47 Republican majority.
Markey’s proposal to add justices is known as packing the court.
It was proposed by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he faced an uncooperative Supreme Court and wanted to increase the number of justices to 15, according to The New York Times.
The number of justices did vary before the Civil War but has been at nine since 1869, according to Fox News.
Although Markey did not spell out how many justices he would want to be added, the concept is that even if the court’s conservative wing holds a majority, enough seats held by liberals could be created to ensure a liberal majority.
Markey’s proposal drew support from the left and criticism from the right:
We can allow ourselves to be depressed for… I dunno, 2 or 3 days.
Then we have to work hard to win the White House and Senate, and then push the Dems to kill the filibuster and expand the Court.
If they push through a nominee they’ll really leave us no other choice.
— Joshua Holland 🔥 (@JoshuaHol) September 19, 2020
Bottom line is McConnell will rub his hands together and fill the seat in violation of his own fake-principle. But if so, and Dems win WH and Senate, that will leave Dems with no choice but to nuke the leg filibuster and try to pack the court. Not doing this won’t be an option.
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) September 19, 2020
Court-packing is the only solution.https://t.co/8QS1u2k0pJ
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) September 19, 2020
Leftists threatening to blow up the legitimacy of the Supreme Court with a court-packing scheme.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) September 19, 2020
During a 2019 interview, Biden refuted the concept.
“No, I’m not prepared to go on and try to pack the court, because we’ll live to rue that day,” he said, according to Iowa Starting Line.
“Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time,” she said.
“I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court.”
The filibuster is a Senate procedure that allows the minority party to require a vote of 60 senators to cut off debate and vote on a proposal. At one time, 60 votes were needed to confirm federal judges, but that has now been reduced to a simple majority.
Abolishing the filibuster would mean that the majority party in the Senate would not need any votes from the minority party in order to pass legislation.
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