Senate

Warren backs expanding the Supreme Court

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) arrives to the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 for votes regarding nominations including Federal Communications Commission Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel.
Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in an op-ed published in the Boston Globe on Wednesday that she supports expanding the Supreme Court by at least four seats.

“I don’t come to this conclusion lightly or because I disagree with a particular decision; I come to this conclusion because I believe the current court threatens the democratic foundations of our nation,” Warren wrote.

The Democratic senator laid out a list of judicial decisions that she believed warranted a Supreme Court expansion. 

“This radical court has reversed century-old campaign-finance restrictions, opening the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited sums of money to buy our elections. It has reversed well-settled law that once required employers to permit union organizers to meet with workers,” Warren said.

“It has trampled on the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection by upholding a racist Muslim ban. It has twisted the law to deny Americans their right to a day in court, despite the clear intent of Congress. And it has gutted one of the most important civil rights laws of our time, the Voting Rights Act, not once but twice,” she continued. 

Warren said she was also concerned about forthcoming decisions that the Supreme Court might issues with regards to abortion and gun control, given their track record on previous cases.

“This court’s lawlessness is a powerful threat to our democracy and our country,” Warren wrote.

“Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to change the size of the Supreme Court. Congress has used that authority seven times before. To restore balance and integrity to a broken institution, Congress must expand the Supreme Court by four or more seats,” she added. 

Warren acknowledged concerns over adding seats to the Supreme Court, but claimed that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former President Trump used “two stolen seats” to push through their own judicial nominations for political gain.

The “two stolen seats” is an apparent reference to Merrick Garland, whose nomination by President Obama was blocked by Republicans who said it came too close to an election, and the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who Republicans quickly replaced after her death, weeks before the 2020 election. 

Trump nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch for the seat that Garland would have filled, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett for Ginsburg’s spot on the high court.

A spokesperson for McConnell referred The Hill back to an op-ed that the Senate Minority Leader wrote in The Washington Post in mid-November on the issue of expanding the Supreme Court.

“The Senate exists to defeat shortsighted proposals and protect our institutions from structural vandalism. That is our job. The American people need their judges to do theirs: follow the law wherever it may lead, independent and unafraid,” McConnell wrote.

The Hill has reached out to spokespeople for Trump for comment.

Updated at 11:40 p.m.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Amy Coney Barrett Barack Obama Donald Trump Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren Merrick Garland Merrick Garland Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell Neil Gorsuch Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court

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