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'The Crazies Are Running the Ship': GOP Senators Sound Alarm on Court Packing Bill

04-22-2021
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Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), right, speaks as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), left, listens during a news conference outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday, April 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The House and Senate Democrats' bill to expand the Supreme Court from nine to thirteen justices doesn't seem to have unified support yet within the Democratic Party, and Republicans are urging their colleagues to reject the idea.  

In a press conference Thursday, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) warned of the long-term effects packing the court would have on the United States. 

"Mr. President, there's some real assaults on democracy and democratic institutions on your watch and you're AWOL," said Graham. "You said it was a bonehead idea for F.D.R. to try and pack the court, you're sitting on the sidelines while you're president forming a commission that might actually do that." 

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Graham and the other senators questioned the Biden administration's decision to form a commission to look into expanding the court.  The 36-member commission made up mostly of academics will study the issue for 180 days before releasing their findings, and will also study changes such as term limits and mandatory retirement ages. 

Carrie Severino from the Judicial Crisis Network told CBN News she believes the findings of the commission are a foregone conclusion. 

"I think we know what the commission is going to say – it's going to say we need to go fast forward towards getting more Democrats on the courts as possible," Severino said.  "This would be such a radical move and trigger such dangerous political tit for tat that even people like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself, like Justice Breyer, like Bernie Sanders of all people, have acknowledged that court-packing would trigger a very dangerous one-way ratchet of making the court bigger and bigger each time power changed in Washington."  

Democrats in favor of adding seats to the court argue nowhere in the Constitution does it specify the number of justices allowed on the Supreme Court. 

"The Republicans stole two seats on the Supreme Court and now it is up to us to repair that damage. Democracy is in jeopardy," argued Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).

Cruz criticized Biden for running on unity but pushing a polarizing agenda. 

"The crazies are running the ship," he said. "I'd like to see the Joe Biden we served with escape from the basement and come out and say, 'Alright, we're not going to break the system. We're not going to cheat and we're not going to destroy the Supreme Court of the United States.'" 

Sen. Graham agreed, "The Joe Biden presidency is not problem-solving thus far, it's the biggest power grab in my lifetime."

The bill to expand the court is pretty much dead in the water as long as the Senate filibuster remains in place – but even if they abolish the filibuster in the Senate to allow most bills to pass with just a simple majority, it's not clear they have enough Democratic support right now to pass the bill this Congress.     

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