Warren, Harris, Gillibrand back efforts to add justices to Supreme Court

Warren, Harris, Gillibrand back efforts to add justices to Supreme Court
© Getty Images

Three Democratic presidential candidates are saying they’re willing to consider adding justices to the Supreme Court as a response to the Senate GOP’s refusal to consider former President Obama’s last pick for the court.

Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard says she won't participate in next debate even if she qualifies On The Money: White House, Dems edge closer to trade deal | GOP worries about Trump concessions | DOJ argues Congress can't sue Trump on emoluments | Former Fed chief Volcker dies UN International Anticorruption Day highlights democracy as a human right MORE (Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKrystal Ball: Media turns on Buttigieg, will this end him? Senate Democrats demand Trump fire Stephen Miller The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment MORE (Calif.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense: Bombshell report reveals officials misled public over progress in Afghanistan | Amazon accuses Trump of 'improper pressure' in Pentagon contract decision | House Judiciary holds final impeachment hearing Gillibrand demands hearing following release of 'Afghanistan Papers' White House, Congress near deal to give 12 weeks paid parental leave to all federal workers MORE (N.Y.) all told Politico that they were willing to at least consider packing the courts, something liberal groups are increasingly suggesting.

“We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court,” Harris told Politico. “We have to take this challenge head on, and everything is on the table to do that.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Warren said adding justices to the Supreme Court deserves consideration, as does bringing appellate judges into Supreme Court cases. “It’s not just about expansion, it’s about depoliticizing the Supreme Court,” she told Politico.

Democrats have been up in arms over the Republican Senate majority’s decision to block Obama nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandAppeals court clears way for Congress to seek Trump financial records Divisive docket to test Supreme Court ahead of 2020 Majority disapprove of Trump Supreme Court nominations, says poll MORE from the court.

After President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence MORE was elected, the GOP Senate also ended the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, which led to the confirmation of two justices picked by Trump.

Those picks are expected to tilt the court to the right given Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Supreme Court denies Trump request to immediately resume federal executions House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law MORE’s confirmation to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Politico reported that Gillibrand said she also would not rule out adding justices to the Supreme Court, and that she called for the Senate to impose stringent ethics rules for justices.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) floated the idea of expanding the court last week, along with term limits for current justices.

“What if there were five justices selected by Democrats, five justices selected by Republicans and those 10 then pick five more justices independent of those who picked the first 10,” O’Rourke, who announced his presidential bid last week, said in Iowa on Thursday. “I think that’s an idea we should explore.”

Non-candidates have expressed support for the idea as well. “The court should not be a court that you can figure out who the Republican judges are and who aren’t,” Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats rip Barr over IG statement: 'Mouthpiece' for Trump Supreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony MORE (D-Hawaii) told the publication.

The idea of adding justices to the court is increasingly popular with grass-roots and advocacy groups.

Pack the Courts, launched in October, has raised $500,000 and plans to spend $2 million leading up to the 2020 presidential campaign to make the issue central to the election.