2020 Democrats face no questions on Supreme Court during second debate

2020 Democrats face no questions on Supreme Court during second debate
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Democratic presidential candidates fielded no questions on how they would approach the Supreme Court during the second round of debates.

CNN moderators did not raise the issue during either of the debates, held on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the candidates barely brought it up themselves.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE has repeatedly touted Justices Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchSupreme Court denies Trump request to immediately resume federal executions House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Justices appear cautious of expanding gun rights in NY case MORE and 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 — his two nominees, who helped solidify a conservative majority on the court — as among his biggest achievements since taking office.

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South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Chicago Mayor Lightfoot to Buttigieg: 'Break that NDA' to have 'moral authority' against Trump Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (D) was the only candidate who referenced how he might approach the Supreme Court, saying Tuesday that he has suggested taking action to “depoliticize the Supreme Court with structural reform.” Buttigieg has signaled that he would support expanding the number of justices on the court.

The candidates were questioned about the Supreme Court during the first round of Democratic debates last month hosted by NBC, but not extensively. Much of that conversation centered around how Democrats would work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Ky.) to get Supreme Court nominees through the Senate.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race Democrats battle for Hollywood's cash Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (I-Vt.) said during the June debate that he would support a system “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 the right to control her own body and the corporations cannot run the United States of America,” he said at the time.

The candidates have not faced questions on the debate stage about what kind of judges they would nominate or how they would move to counteract Trump’s efforts to reshape the federal judiciary. The GOP-controlled Senate has confirmed more than 100 federal judges nominated by Trump, including several this week.

The courts have been a topic of debate in recent presidential election cycles, and judicial groups have been critical of the lack of questions this time around.

Several progressive groups, like Take Back the Court and the American Constitution Society, wrote a letter to CNN ahead of this week's debates urging the moderators to ask questions about the Supreme Court. The letter cited a “politicized Supreme Court” and an “extreme right takeover of our third branch of government.”

“We cannot afford another debate where this critical issue is ignored,” the groups wrote.

The conservative Article III Project sent a similar letter to CNN, but attacked some Democrats’ comments on the judiciary as “unconstitutional or otherwise radical assaults on judicial independence.”

“All of the Democrat presidential candidates should explain to the American people where they stand,” the organization wrote.