Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) criticized a handful of Senate Democrats on Sunday after the five lawmakers threatened to expand the Supreme Court if they did not get their way.
“This has been a dream of the left for decades — to increase the number of judges on the court, pack them with liberal judges so the court can do, through the legal system, what they can’t do through the ballot box,” Graham told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo when asked about an amicus brief that Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) filed last week.
“The dream of every leftist is to have a liberal court enacting laws from the bench,” he continued. “The dream of every conservative is to have judges who will interpret the law, not make the law.”
Graham’s remarks were in response to an amicus brief that the aforementioned lawmakers filed only days earlier. The legal document warns the nine justices that they if they do not drop a New York firearms case that the court has agreed to review, than they will be faced with public backlash and subsequent restructuring.
Whitehouse unapologetically told The Washington Post that he was cautioning the Supreme Court, not threatening the institution.
“When you hear ‘expanding the court,’ that’s code for liberals packing the court,” Graham said. “Over my dead body, it’s not going to happen.”
Graham chairs the Senate Judiciary, which is tasked with considering executive nominations, including judicial nominations. While serving as a rank-and-file member of the committee in 2018, he was instrumental in Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
“When they want to do away with [the] electoral college, that’s telling every rural American to go to hell,” Graham said. “That would mean that Los Angeles and New York would decide who is the president. The electoral college allows rural Americans to have a say about picking the president.”
“So, they accuse [President] Donald Trump of changing our system — they’re the ones that are turning it upside down because they can’t win under the current construct,” he continued. “So, this idea of packing the court has been a dream of the left forever and we’re not going to let it happen.”
Though Democrats have long been proposing to exert their congressional powers in order to increase the number of Justices that would sit on the Supreme Court at one time, Democrats’ calls for “court-packing” have increased since Trump got elected to office in 2016.
The majority of Democratic presidential candidates running in the upcoming election cycle have advocated for expanding the court, including South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), and Gillibrand, who signed the recent amicus brief.
The two frontrunners, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), however, both have come out against any form of court-packing.