Following President Trump’s announcement that he will nominate a successor to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Democrats have vowed that if a nominee is confirmed this year, “nothing is off the table.”
Democrats are warning that if Republicans move forward with a nomination, they may try to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court and eliminate the filibuster in the Senate to make it far easier to pass a liberal slate of bills.
These plans would be contingent upon Democrats retaking the Senate this fall and Joe Biden winning the presidency.
“Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year. Nothing is off the table,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told Senate Democrats on Saturday.
When asked on Monday whether he would approve of a court packing plan, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden avoided the question, raising the possibility that he could go along with the plan.
“It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question: because it will shift all the focus,” Biden said.
A court packing plan would likely include the addition of four new justices, all picked by a newly installed Democrat president, raising the number of justices on the Supreme Court from nine to 13.
“If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021. It’s that simple,” Rep. Joe Kennedy III tweeted on Saturday.
Democrats have also raised the possibility of eliminating the Senate filibuster, which would lower the number of votes needed to move forward legislation from 60 to just 51.
Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., expressed reservations about packing the court and ending the filibuster, saying, “I don’t believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose.”
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., strongly disagreed with her comments, tweeting, “Sen. Feinstein’s protection of the filibuster is unjust & unacceptable. The filibuster wasn’t made with purpose. It’s the result of an accident.”
Additionally, Democrats have floated the idea of impeaching either President Trump again or members of his administration to halt the nomination process.
At a press conference, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was asked whether she would be “in support of potentially renewing talks of an impeachment hearing either against the Attorney General or the president.”
“These are decisions that are largely up to House Democratic leadership, but I believe that also we must consider, again, all the tools available to our disposal, and that all of these options should be entertained and on the table,” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded.
Liberal CNN host Don Lemon said on Monday evening that Democrats are “going to have to blow up the entire system,” if a nominee is confirmed. He also raised the possibility of ending the Electoral College.
“You know what we’re going to have to do?… You’re going to have to get rid of the electoral college,” Lemon added. “Because the minority in this country get to decide who our judges are and who our president is. Is that fair?”
“You need a constitutional amendment to do that,” Chris Cuomo told Lemon.
“And if Joe Biden wins, Democrats can stack the courts and they can do that amendment and get it passed,” Lemon responded.
It will be unclear until election day on November 3 whether most Americans support these proposals.
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Photo from Gripas Yuri/ABACA/REUTERS
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