Democrats Revive Court-Packing Calls After Supreme Court Decisions Favoring Conservatives

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday in favor of two GOP-passed Arizona voting laws.
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 28: The Guardian or Authority of Law, created by sculptor James Earle Fraser, rests on the side of the U.S. Supreme Court on September 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. This week Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, will begin meeting with Senators as she seeks to be confirmed before the presidential election. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)
Al Drago/Getty Images

Democrats have revived their calls to expand the Supreme Court after the Court ruled in favor of conservatives this week.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday in favor of two GOP-passed Arizona voting laws aimed at safeguarding election integrity.

“Today’s ruling is another blow to voting rights,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) wrote in a tweet.

“We have no time to waste to protect the right to vote. We must abolish the filibuster and pass the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act. And we must expand the Supreme Court,” Markey said.

“Today, the Supreme Court once again gutted the Voting Rights Act. If we don’t expand the Court soon, we will no longer have a democracy to protect. What are we waiting for?” wrote Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) in a tweet.

“And still some people have the nerve to question whether Court expansion is necessary,” Jones wrote in another tweet responding to a tweet that accused Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of having “stolen” Supreme Court seats for former President Trump.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) also called for expanding the Supreme Court, as well as abolishing the filibuster, in a tweet.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s majority opinion on the Arizona voting laws, concluding that they do not violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Alito was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Chief Justice John Roberts. Justices Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Last year, some Democrats called for adding justices to the Supreme Court, known as “court-packing.” In April, congressional Democrats introduced a bill to expand the court from nine to 13 justices.

President Biden refused to answer questions on court-packing during his campaign last year.

“Whatever position I take on that, that’ll become the issue,” Biden responded during a presidential debate in September when pressed on whether he supported increasing the number of justices.

Over the last several years, Democrats have made clear that they strongly disapprove of each of Trump’s three Supreme Court picks.

In March of last year, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), then the Senate Minority Leader, stood on the steps of the Supreme Court and spoke before a throng of abortion advocates as the court took up its first case dealing with abortion since Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed.

“I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price,” Schumer declared. “You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

A spokesman for Schumer said at the time that the senator’s remark was a “reference to the political price” Republicans would pay for confirming Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the court. The spokesman added that the justices would inspire a “major grassroots movement on the issue of reproductive rights against the decision.”

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