Bernie Sanders says he would move to ‘rotate’ Supreme Court justices if elected

Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday night floated the idea of rotating Supreme Court justices to other courts to bridge the current ideological divide. 

“I do not believe in packing the court,” Sanders said during the second of the first two 2020 Democratic presidential debates. “We’ve got a terrible 5-4 majority conservative court right now. But I do believe constitutionally we have the power to rotate judges to other courts and that brings in new blood into the Supreme Court and a majority I hope that will understand that a woman has a right to control her own body and that corporations cannot run the United States of America.”

{mosads}Sanders made the comments while addressing a question posed about what he would do as president if a conservative-led Supreme Court struck down Roe V. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the right to an abortion. 

Sanders, an outspoken advocate of abortion rights, reiterated his stance that a woman’s right to control her body was a “constitutional right.”

He also promised to “never nominate any Supreme Court justice to the Supreme Court unless that justice is 100 percent clear he or she will defend will defend Roe V. Wade.”

Asked by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow if Roe v. Wade was already overturned when he was president, Sanders responded by noting that his “Medicare for All” legislation would guarantee abortion rights. 

This isn’t the first time Sanders has offered the idea rotating Supreme Court justices. 

“What may make sense is, if not term limits, then rotating judges to the appeals court as well,” Sanders said at the We the People summit in Washington in April, according to CNN. “Letting them get out of the Supreme Court and bringing in new blood.”
Preet Bharara, who once served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, questioned the idea, asking on Twitter whether he was “missing something.”
A Sanders spokesperson told The Hill that Sanders’s plan to reform the courts “would be to rotate Supreme Court justices down to circuit courts after a set term limit, serving out the remainder of their lifetime appointment in lower courts.”
“Bernie believes if we were to pack the court, Republicans would simply do so the next time they gained power,” the spokesperson said. “Bernie’s plan would only require an act of Congress.” 
–Updated Friday at 10:43 a.m.
Tags Bernie Sanders Democratic debates Preet Bharara Rachel Maddow
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video