President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson declined Tuesday to comment on whether she supports packing the court.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told Jackson during senate hearings Tuesday that Justice Amy Coney Barrett said she “could not opine” on the question of court packing.
Barrett did not specifically decline to comment on court packing during her 2020 confirmation hearings, the Senate Republican Communications Center highlighted Tuesday, but she did decline to opine to Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah on how packing the court would impact the way the three branches of government interact with each other.
“I do believe we should have rules, and traditions, and precedents, but we shouldn’t have a separate set of rules for Republican nominees and Democratic nominees,” said Durbin. “So Judge Jackson, if a senator were to ask you today about proposals about changing the current size of the Supreme Court, what would your response be?”
“Senator, I agree with Justice Barrett with her response to that question,” responded Jackson. “My north star is the consideration of the proper role of a judge in our constitutional scheme and, in my view, judges should not be speaking to political issues.”
Judge Jackson says she agrees with Justice Barrett’s response to question of court packing: “My north star is the consideration of the proper role of a judge in our constitutional scheme and, in my view, judges should not be speaking to political issues.” https://t.co/B2xgJjuMJG pic.twitter.com/qWv4LuBxaE
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 22, 2022
Jackson’s response is particularly interesting in light of broad Democratic support for court packing (including Biden’s creation of a panel to consider court packing).
Demand Justice, a judicial activism organization which has had ties to the dark money mothership Arabella Advisors, has heavily financially backed Jackson’s nomination to the court. Arabella has distanced itself from Demand Justice in recent months saying that it “does not work for Demand Justice in any capacity.”
Demand Justice orchestrated campaigns to get both Justice Stephen Breyer to step down and to get Jackson nominated.
“The Supreme Court has become too partisan and too political, and with a united Democratic government the time to act is now,” Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon said in April 2021. “The 6-3 Republican-appointed majority consistently sides with Republican politicians and corporate interests over the American people, and we must act before they rig the rules of our democracy even further.”
Here's a photo of Demand Justice's billboard truck outside of Union Station. pic.twitter.com/2N1Md9WSiV
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) April 9, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who spoke with Jackson earlier this month, said that he found it problematic she would not answer whether she supported court packing.
“I asked her to defend the court,” he told Fox News. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Breyer both publicly opposed court-packing, that is trying to increase the number of court members in order to get an outcome you like.”
“That would have been an easy thing for her to do to defend the integrity of the court,” he added. “She wouldn’t do that.”
McConnell promised that in the meantime, the committee “will ask her all the tough questions.”
“I haven’t made a final decision as to how I’m going to vote,” McConnell added.
“And by the way, she’ll be treated much better than Democrats are typically treating Republican nominees like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh,” McConnell said. “It’ll be a respectful, deep dive into her record, which I think is entirely appropriate for a lifetime appointment.”