News and Commentary

Multiple Democrat Presidential Candidates Say They’re Open To Expanding The Supreme Court

For the Left, our nation’s institutions and procedures work — until Republicans win. We saw this after the 2016 election, when Democrats began suggesting the Electoral College be destroyed because President Donald Trump lost the popular vote. We saw it again when Trump nominated two conservative judges to the Supreme Court.

After Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement last summer, left-wing media outlets like The Washington Post, Vox, and Jacobin began floating the idea of packing the Supreme Court to remove the conservative majority.

After the first day of hearings on then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh concluded, celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti demanded the eventual 2020 Democrat presidential nominee “commit” to packing the Court.

“In light of the [Merrick] Garland seat that was stolen, together with the events of today and the hiding of docs, etc., the court must be expanded to 11 seats after 2020,” Avenatti tweeted. “The Dem nominee must commit to this or not receive the nomination IMO. There is far too much at stake.”

It looks like many of the 2020 presidential nominees have taken his advice.

Politico reported that Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) all told the outlet “they would not rule out expanding the Supreme Court if elected president.”

Gillibrand told the outlet that Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was an illegitimate judge, and that his seat was stolen from Merrick Garland. She said the senate should “impose strict ethics rules on the Supreme Court,” Politico reported.

Harris said America was “on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court.”

“We have to take this challenge head on, and everything is on the table to do that,” she told Politico.

Warren responded by saying the idea of expansion was “a conversation that’s worth having.”

“It’s not just about expansion, it’s about depoliticizing the Supreme Court,” Warren told Politico, which reported she also suggested adding appellate judges to Supreme Court cases.

In addition, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (pronounced Buddha-judge) and failed senate candidate Beto O’Rourke had previously suggested they were open to the idea of altering the Supreme Court as well.

“What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans, and those ten then picked five more justices independent of those who chose the first ten?” O’Rourke said at a recent campaign stop. “I think that’s an idea we should explore.”

He also floated the idea of term limits on Supreme Court justices.

Buttigieg suggested at his own recent campaign stop that he would increase the number of justices from nine to 15.

There are some Democrat presidential hopefuls who recognize that further escalating judicial fights will end up backfiring. After Republicans refused to vote for President Barack Obama’s left-wing judicial nominees, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) invoked the “nuclear option” requiring a simple majority to confirm judges. When Democrats refused to vote for Trump’s nominee Gorsuch as retaliation for Garland, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) changed the senate rules to require a simple majority to confirm Supreme Court judges. If Democrats begin packing the Supreme Court, Republicans will respond in kind.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who is also running for president, cautioned against packing the highest court.

“I’m open to these kind of conversations, but I really caution people about doing things that become a tit for tat throughout history,” Booker told Politico. “So, when the Democrats expand it to 11, 12 judges, when Republicans have it, they expand it to 15 judges.”

Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also told the outlet that there were other ways to change the Supreme Court, like winning elections to get nominations.