Sanders calls for more justices like Sotomayor, Ginsburg after Buttigieg says he'd like to see more like Kennedy

Sanders calls for more justices like Sotomayor, Ginsburg after Buttigieg says he'd like to see more like Kennedy
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary MORE (I-Vt.) responded Thursday to fellow 2020 presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegThe Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Environmental activists interrupt Buttigieg in New Hampshire Pence to visit Iowa days before caucuses MORE saying a proposed expansion of the Supreme Court could involve more justices like ex-Justice Anthony Kennedy, saying he would rather see justices in the mold of Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorJustice Roberts neglects his own role in tilting American democracy Turley: Testifying for Republicans should not be a sin for academics Buttigieg, Klobuchar lay out criteria for potential judicial nominees MORE and Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgEqual Rights Amendment will replace equality with enforced sameness SCOTUS 'TRAP law' case and the erosion of abortion rights Trump and Obama equally admired? Eight things popularity polls tell us MORE.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., made the comments in an interview with Cosmopolitan, telling the magazine he was open to expanding the Supreme Court to 15 justices and including five nonpartisan justices who could only be seated if the other 10 agreed. This plan would incorporate “justices who think for themselves … like Justice Kennedy or Justice [David] Souter," he said.

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The comment was picked up by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Brian Tashman, who noted that Kennedy, a swing-vote who retired from the high court in 2018, ruled in favor of the Trump administration’s travel ban and against public-sector labor unions’ right to collect fees from nonmembers.

Sanders, however, responded on Twitter that he'd rather see more reliably liberal justices join the court.

Buttigieg spokesman Sean Savett, pushed back Thursday afternoon on the original characterizations of his remarks, saying "This tweet ignores his comments in the interview, in which he said his appointments would ‘definitely be people who share my values,’ and how depoliticizing SCOTUS is personal to him because his marriage exists by a single vote on the court."

"To be clear: Pete has consistently said he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who share his progressive values. Kennedy was not such a justice," Savett added.

Sanders and Buttigieg have largely avoided direct conflict during their respective campaigns, though Buttigieg has attempted to position himself as a more-moderate alternative to Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Environmental activists interrupt Buttigieg in New Hampshire Pence to visit Iowa days before caucuses MORE (D-Mass.), particularly their progressive proposals on health care and taxation.

Sanders said in June that he “do[es] not believe in packing the court” but added, “I do believe constitutionally we have the power to rotate judges to other courts and that brings in new blood into the Supreme Court.”

—Updated at 3:58 p.m.