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A pair of Senate Democrats are speaking out to back up Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s options to deal with an increasingly partisan Supreme Court should he be elected president.
Senate Republicans are set next week to provide a final vote for Donald Trump’s pick for the high court, Amy Coney Barrett, even as there is less than two weeks before Election Day.
The opening on the Supreme Court was created by the sudden death last month of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The seating of Barrett would create an expected 6-3 supermajority for those on the court’s right wing.
Democrats and progressives have been looking at options to limit the influence of those right-wing justices, including the expansion of the size of the high court beyond its current nine members.
Republicans and conservatives have been pushing back against any action which could disturb their long-hoped-for control over the nation’s top court.
“Jake, like Joe Biden, I’m not a fan of expanding the court. We have a few weeks here to see whether there are four Republicans who will step back from this precipice,” Sen Chris Coons of Biden’s home state of Delaware said during a recent interview with CNN host Jake Tapper. “It is President Trump who has pressed for this nominee so he can have a key vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic.
“The Republican majority is responsible for racing forward with this extreme unqualified nominee, unqualified because of her extreme judicial philosophy and that is who should be bearing the brunt at the ballot box in this election, that they are doing this to get someone on the court just in time a week after the election to take away critical health care protections from a majority of Americans,” Coons added. “We need to focus on that and then if we happen to be in the fact pattern where we have a President Biden we have to look at what the right steps are to.”
Sen Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, particularly supports Biden’s call for a special commission to study the area of Supreme Court reform.
“My view is that after the election, depending on how this all turns out, we should review the entire process. Look, Joe Biden, the vice president just said today that what we should do is establish a bipartisan commission to look at this,” Van Hollen said. “Because you should not allow the abuse of power to determine the balance of the court. I think most Americans agree with that. That we shouldn’t allow this to be purely a matter of chance and the issue of applying different rules to different presidents.
“My view is, yes, we need to take a look at how we need to make sure that we have a balanced court and that’s exactly what Vice President Biden has done. He said he wants to put forward a bipartisan commission to take a look at it,” Van Hollen added.
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