Buttigieg defends court-packing proposal at Democratic debate

Buttigieg defends court-packing proposal at Democratic debate
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South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Overnight Defense: Trump downplays troops' concussion injuries in Iran attack | Dems offer case against Trump on day two of trial | UN links Saudis to hack of Bezos' phone MORE was the only Democratic presidential candidate on the debate stage Tuesday night to explicitly endorse court packing as way to prevent Roe v. Wade from being overturned by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Buttigieg said he wasn't wedded to expanding the number of justices but believes it would be an effective approach to limiting partisan control of the high court.

"Now, one way to fix this would be to have a 15-member court where five of the members can only be appointed by unanimous agreement of the other 10," Buttigieg said.

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He also proposed term limits for Supreme Court justices as a potential alternative.

Other candidates who were asked about court packing were more wary of the idea.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden MORE said he would rather focus on the strength of a court nominee's support for upholding abortion rights.

"I would not pack the court," Biden said. "What I would do is make sure that the people that I recommended for the court from — Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSupreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools Equal Rights Amendment will replace equality with enforced sameness SCOTUS 'TRAP law' case and the erosion of abortion rights MORE to Elena KaganElena KaganSupreme Court sharply divided over state aid for religious schools Buttigieg, Klobuchar lay out criteria for potential judicial nominees Welcome to third-world democracy and impeachment MORE, who used to work for me, to others — that they, in fact, support the right of privacy, on which the entire notion of a woman's right to choose is based."

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro also pushed back on the notion of court packing, saying, "I think the plan that Mayor Pete mentioned is an interesting one, but I actually believe that if we were selecting from one of those things that the smarter move might be to look at term limits or having people cycle off from the appellate courts, so that you would have a replenishment of perspective."

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum Sanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Biden, Sanders tax plans would raise less revenue than claimed: studies MORE (D-Mass.) largely sidestepped the question, but said that given the broad support for Roe v. Wade, Congress should codify it into law.

"We should not leave this to the Supreme Court," she said. "We should do it through democracy, because we can."