Democrats Want to Change the Number of Supreme Court Justices Against Ginsburg’s Advice: Sen. Barrasso

September 21, 2020 Updated: September 21, 2020

Republican Senate Conference Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) supports immediately nominating a Supreme Court justice to replace Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, saying that if Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democrats gain control in 2021, they will “change the rules.”

The Wyoming senator told Fox News: “If the Democrats win the White House and the Senate and have the House, they will change the rules, they will blow up the Senate, they have an entire war room working on this.”

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Also pictured from left to right: Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.). (Ron Sachs/Getty Images)

“They will expand the number of members of the Supreme Court, regardless of what the Republicans and President Trump do. … This is a pure power grab and then they want to stack the Senate as well by expanding the number of states to include DC statehood, with two new Democrat senators,” Barrasso added.

When addressing the topic of expanding the number of Supreme Court justices during an NPR interview in 2019, Ginsburg said they shouldn’t expand the court as it would make it too political.

“Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time,” she told NPR. “I have heard that there are some people on the Democratic side who would like to increase the number of judges. I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court,” Ginsburg said.

Ginsburg said she was not in favor of such a change.

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the 2020 DVF Awards in Washington on Feb. 19, 2020. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for DVF)

“If anything would make the court look partisan,” she told NPR. “It would be that—one side saying, ‘When we’re in power, we’re going to enlarge the number of judges, so we would have more people who would vote the way we want them to.'”

Democrats are criticizing Republicans for moving forward with a nomination now, but not when President Barack Obama wanted to nominate a justice during an election year.

Barrasso addressed the issue of the Supreme Court vacancy during Obama’s last year in office, when D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick B. Garland was nominated but not voted on by the Senate because of what Barrasso called, “the Biden Rule.”

In 1992, then-Senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, said to the Democratic-controlled Senate they should not hold any potential hearings for nominees offered by then-President George H.W. Bush.

Barrasso argued the Biden rule does not hold this time because both the president and the Senate are of the same party.

Barrasso also called the democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) the “de facto speaker of the House,” saying that Ocasio-Cortez’s presence at Schumer’s press conference this weekend was proof she has a very influential role in the party.

Schumer and Ocasio-Cortez held a press conference and spoke on Sept. 19 at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York, about protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community and reproductive rights.

“Today, a Reuters poll came out and said 62 percent of Americans agree with her.” Schumer said, referring to Ginsburg’s apparent wish to have the new Supreme Court justice be nominated after the 2020 elections.

Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman congresswoman, said people must not allow Republicans to nominate a new Supreme Court justice until after the elections.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) listens during a press conference in the Corona neighborhood of Queens in New York City, N.Y., on April 14, 2020. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez stressed that all people who care about pro-choice issues, gay marriage, and unionizing, should call their senators, especially Republican senators and senators in swing states, “to make sure that they hold this vacancy open. And we must also commit to using every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary.”

Since 1900, about 70 percent of all Supreme Court nominees were confirmed within 45 days and 13 of them were confirmed in a week or less.

Republicans argue that if the roles were reversed, Democrats would do the same thing, nominating their pick for Supreme Court justice before an election.