Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is using the last seven minutes of his time allotted to question Supreme Court nominee Amy Connie Barrett to oppose the idea of expanding the list of Supreme Court, which some Democrats are proposing as a means of its packaging with liberal judges.
Barrett herself did not say much on the matter, only to acknowledge that the size of the Supreme Court – currently nine judges – is determined by Congress by law.
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“However, there are good, prudent reasons for the separation of powers between the three branches of government, reasons that have left us to leave that number at nine for the past 1
Democratic figures such as Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass. And Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Called for doing just that in retaliation for Republicans rushing to confirm Barrett ahead of the November election. Democrats made the proposal, assuming they would take control of the Senate and the White House after the election, giving them the power to change current rules.
Lee recalled that the president’s last attempt to expand the court’s list and nominate a number of new justice – a practice known as court packaging – was by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. Lee noted that Roosevelt failed to do so, although his fellow Democrats controlled the House and Senate with “irresistible over-majority.”
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The Utah Republican mentioned an “exciting speech I recommend to everyone” by none other than current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who addressed the subject in the Senate in 1983. Lee recalled that Biden acknowledged that although the Constitution does not determine the number of judges, it must remain nine out of respect for the separation of powers.
“President Roosevelt obviously had the right to send a proposal to the United States Senate and the US Congress to pack the court. It was entirely his right to do so. He did not break the law. He was legalistic, absolutely correct, “said then-Senator Biden. “But it was a bone idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake. And questioned if for a decade the independence of the most important body … in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States. “
Biden and other Democrats now speculate that Republicans are trying to get the court together, citing efforts to fill the judiciary quickly, which they have achieved with great success during President Trump’s term. Lee made an exception to this message.
OFFICIAL COURT PACKAGING THE “IDEA OF BONE HEADS” DURING THE 1983 HEARING
“I’ve seen some in the media in recent days, and some in this body are trying to redefine what court packaging means,” Lee said. “Some suggest that court packaging has different forms and that can mean confirming many of them at once.” some have defined it to suggest that it consists of what the Trump administration and the Republican Senate have been doing for the past three and a half years, which fills vacancies as they arose, and does the same with textualists, original judges. This may not be something that some people like, but it is not a judicial package, the judicial package itself is manipulative, it is something that is in great danger of causing enormous political and constitutional damage to this way of governing, partly because would create a one-way rattle. “
Lee explained that court packaging does long-term damage because if you “create a position and confirm someone in that position,” it cannot be eliminated unless the person filling the seat dies, withdraws, or is removed by impeachment.
Lee also warned that if Democrats had to pack up the court, it would set a precedent that would lead Republicans to do the next time they have the power and opportunity to do so.
“Eventually you will increase it gradually. “It soon looks like the Senate in Star Wars, where there are hundreds of people there,” Lee said.
The senator argues that any increase made for political purposes will “delegitimize the court” and ultimately jeopardize defenses such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech, which are sometimes unpopular.
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Biden – despite speaking out against court packaging in 1983 and even saying in an interview in 2019 that Democrats would “live to see this day” if they did so now – declined to answer questions about his position on packaging. of the court. Lee claims that there is only one reason why he will not consider the issue.
“There’s a reason he doesn’t say he would,” Lee said. – There is only one reason why you refuse to answer this question. That’s if you want to be able to do it, but you don’t want to take advantage of the fact that you’re thinking of doing it right now. “