McConnell challenger dodges court packing question

McConnell challenger dodges court packing question
© Getty Images

Amy McGrath, the Marine Corps combat pilot and Democratic candidate attempting to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' Capito grills EPA nominee on '#ResistCapitalism' tweet Hassan launches first ad of reelection bid focusing on veterans' issues MORE (R-Ky.), avoided answering a question on Monday about whether she would support expanding the number of judges on the Supreme Court as some Democrats have suggested.

“I think we should be working on unpacking the Senate,” she said, accusing her opponent of having “polarized and made this partisan mess of a Supreme Court so bad.” 

In dodging the question, McGrath joined other Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles MORE and vice presidential nominee Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisLive coverage: California voters to decide Newsom's fate Florida woman faces five years in prison for threatening to kill Harris Australia's COVID overreaction could come to US MORE, in avoiding taking a stance on the notion of allowing more than nine justices on the high court during her first and only debate with McConnell in Kentucky. 


McConnell accused McGrath and Democrats of wanting to “stack the Supreme Court” so “they can get an outcome that they like” on high-profile cases, such as a pending challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

It was part of his effort to lump his opponent with progressives who also want to scrap the Senate filibuster and make Washington, D.C., a state, which would likely add to Democratic senators to the Senate.

McConnell immediately pounced on McGrath’s evasion and tied it to Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s refusal to answer a similar question at the first presidential debate and on the campaign trail.

“She won’t answer the question and Joe Biden won’t answer the question either. What Biden says is, ‘I’ll tell you after the election whether or not he’s going to pack the Supreme Court,’” he said.

McConnell reiterated that late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgTo infinity and beyond: What will it take to create a diverse and representative judiciary? Justice Ginsburg's parting gift? Court's ruling on Texas law doesn't threaten Roe — but Democrats' overreaction might MORE said nine is the right number of justices for the high court.


That opened a door for McGrath to hit the GOP leader for refusing to hold a hearing for former President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandWoman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' Democrat rips Justice for not appearing at US gymnastics hearing DOJ asks judge to block Texas from enacting abortion law MORE for about 10 months during the 2016 presidential election year.

McGrath also invoked Ginsburg’s name, noting she “also said that she didn’t think her seat should be filled until the next president” is elected.

McConnell reiterated that it is not unusual to confirm a Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year if the same party controls the White House and Senate.