Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Tuesday said that Democrats are making false claims about the GOP packing the Supreme Court, and that Democrats themselves have indicated they would consider adding more justices.
Speaking after day 2 of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing, Grassley told Fox News: “From the other side you’ve heard everything that distorts and distracts, and you have Vice President Biden, and you have Eric Holder yesterday talking about what we’re doing is packing the Supreme Court … But they want us to believe that what we’re doing is packing the court.”
Democrats have opposed Republicans pushing to have the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ginsburg filled before the Nov. 3 election.
Right after President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would fill Ginsburg’s seat, Democrats began suggesting that adding more seats could help solve the problem of a conservative majority.
“If Sen. McConnell and [Senate Republicans] were to force through a nominee during the lame-duck session—before a new Senate and president can take office—then the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court,” Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Twitter on Sept. 19.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told members of his caucus that “nothing is off the table” if Democrats retake the Senate, indicating that he is willing to consider expanding the court. Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Grassley criticized Democrats for what he called wanting to legislate via the judicial branch of the government.
“But a lot of things that Democrats want they can’t get through here, so they go to the courts. And the liberal judges like to expand laws that Congress passed. They like to expand the Constitution beyond the intent of the writers of the Constitution,” said Grassley.
Since winning his party’s presidential nomination, Joe Biden has been side-stepping the question on whether if elected president he would try to add justices to the Supreme Court, saying he will reveal his plan after the elections. But on Monday he went further with his comments on the issue, saying he’s “not a fan” of court-packing.
“I’ve already spoken: I’m not a fan of court-packing, but I don’t want to get off on that whole issue. I want to keep focused,” the former vice president told WKRC-TV after a campaign event in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Grassley also hit on another potential outcome of Democrats winning a Senate majority: adding two senators for the District of Columbia and two senators for Puerto Rico, removing the filibuster.
“If you like bipartisanship, you shouldn’t change the 60-vote requirement because that’s the only place in the political system that forces bipartisanship … So do people want partisanship? Then do away with the filibuster, make Schumer majority leader, and he’s going to do that.”