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 SandersTrump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Trump mocks Joe Biden's drive-in rallies at North Carolina event Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' MORE (I-Vt.) responded Thursday to fellow 2020 presidential hopeful Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Buttigieg says it's time to 'turn the page' on Trump administration Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 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 SotomayorSupreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama Supreme Court grants Trump request to halt 2020 census Amy Coney Barrett tells Senate panel she signed ad decrying Roe v. Wade as 'infamous' MORE and Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgMcConnell tees up Barrett nomination, setting up rare weekend session Jaime Harrison raises million in two weeks for South Carolina Senate bid Dozens of legal experts throw weight behind Supreme Court term limit bill 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.


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 WarrenWhat do Google, banks and chicken salad have in common? Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit Biden defends his health plan from Trump attacks 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.