SHORTLY after conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice on Monday, Democratic representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar essentially called for court packing.
Neither of the progressive congresswoman called it packing the court—adding more seats to the Supreme Court—but both tweeted, “expand the court,” which means the same thing.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted ‘there is a legal process for expansion’Credit: Instagram
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez advocated for court packing
After tweeting “expand the court,” Ocasio-Cortez explained it is warranted because Republicans, who hold the majority in the Senate and confirmed Barrett, “don’t believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do.”
“And for a long time they’ve been correct. But do not let them bully the public into thinking their bulldozing is normal but a response isn’t. There is a legal process for expansion,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
What is court packing?
“Packing the court” is a term that was coined by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and refers to a law that allows for more justices to be added to the Supreme Court.
The law is official called the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937.
A provision of the bill would have given the president the authority to appoint up to six more justices to the high court for each justice that was over 70 years and six months old.
The US Constitution does not state how many justices should sit on the Supreme Court.
Omar quote tweeted her colleague’s “expand the court” message and commented with the same phrase, then offered her rationale.
“Remember that Republicans have lost 6 of the last 7 popular votes, but have appointed 6 of the last 9 justices,” Omar said.
Representative Ilhan Omar tweeted that ‘by expanding the court we fix this broken system’Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Ilhan Omar agreed with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that the high court should be expanded
“By expanding the court we fix this broken system and have the court better represent the values of the American people.”
The Senate confirmed Barrett by a 52-48 vote along party lines and it was the first time in 151 years that a confirmation has taken place without one vote from the minority party.
Senator Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote “no” on Barrett.
Following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last month, Barrett’s nomination by President Donald Trump so close to the presidential election stirred controversy and opposition from Democrats who argued the seat should be filled after Americans decided the next commander-in-chief.
Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court on Oct 26Credit: AP:Associated Press
President Donald Trump nominated Amy Barrett Coney despite the approaching November electionCredit: AP:Associated Press
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has declined to answer if he believes in expanding the high court beyond nine justices.
After Barrett’s confirmation, Biden said in a statement that “the rushed and unprecedented confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, in the middle of an ongoing election, should be a stark reminder to every American that your vote matters.”
Ocasio-Cortez and Omar’s sentiments about court packing were shared by the other two members of their progressive “Squad”—representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.
“We are going to take back the White House & Senate next week with a resounding mandate from the people to fight back against Trump’s illegitimately stacked judiciary,” Tlaib tweeted.
“We must expand the Court if we’re serious about the transformational change the people are crying out for.”
Pressley did not say “expand the court” specifically, but implied that change is needed.
“We reject this injustice. We will fight for our rights. We will legislate our values,” Pressley tweeted.
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