News and Commentary

‘End The Filibuster And Expand The Supreme Court’: Dem Senator Proposes Retaliation If Barrett Confirmed
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: Senator Ed Markey speaks at the Back the Thrive Agenda press conference at the Longworth Office Building on September 10, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Several hours before President Donald Trump officially nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said that Democrats should retaliate by axing two long-held institutional norms — ending the Senate filibuster, and moving to expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

“If Republicans confirm Judge Barrett, end the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court,” tweeted Markey on Saturday morning.

The Senate filibuster allows lawmakers to block legislation or a pending vote that doesn’t have three-fifths of the Senate’s support. Democrats such as former President Barack Obama have recently started referring to it as a “Jim Crow” era relic.

While the Constitution doesn’t specifically enshrine the filibuster, it has been a theoretical feature of the Senate since the early 19th century and was first used in 1837. Other left-wing senators have expressed varying degrees of interest in eliminating the filibuster, including Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Markey’s other threat — court-packing — would upend a 150-year political norm in which the Supreme Court consists of nine justices. While the Constitution does not enshrine the number of justices on the bench, lawmakers have set the number of justices at nine, including one chief justice, and have not passed any efforts to expand it since 1869.

Markey is currently running for re-election against Republican challenger Kevin O’Connor.

As The Daily Wire previously reported, President Donald Trump officially made his nomination to the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon during a White House ceremony in which he referred to Barrett as a “woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.”

During Barrett’s remarks, the judge praised the late Justice Ginsburg, drawing attention to the half-mast flag flying in her memory.

“Justice Ginsburg began her career at a time when women were not welcome in the legal profession,” said Barrett. “But she not only broke glass ceilings, she smashed them. For that, she has won the admiration of women across the country and indeed, all over the world. She was a woman of enormous talent and consequence, and her life of public service serves as an example to us all.”

On Saturday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on every senator to give Barrett a fair nomination process, saying: “I hope all 100 Senators will treat this serious process with the dignity and respect it should command.”

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