Nice Institutions You Have There, Shame If Something Were To Happen To Them

Democrats ‘Threaten To Wreck The Makeup Of The Senate If They Lose A Vote, And To Wreck The Structure Of The Court If Somebody Is Confirmed Whom They Oppose’


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “That is what Senates do. It is in our job description. Presidents make nominations as they see fit, and Senate majorities either provide or withhold advice and consent as we see fit. But now our Democratic colleagues tell us that the Senate doing normal senatorial things would ‘spell the end’ of this institution. Whatever that may mean. The Democratic Leader is not alone in these pronouncements…. Bear in mind, none of them assert this majority would be breaking any Senate rule by holding this vote. It is just that our Democratic friends worry they might not like the outcome. For some reason they cannot bear to see Republicans governing within the rules as Republicans, doing exactly what Americans elected us to do. So they threaten to wreck the makeup of the Senate if they lose a vote, and to wreck the structure of the Court if somebody is confirmed whom they oppose.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/22/2020)

  • SEN. McCONNELL: “I’ll tell you what really could threaten our system of government. It is not Senate Republicans doing legitimate things, squarely within the Senate rules and within the Constitution, that Democrats happen to dislike. No, what could really threaten our system is if one of our two major parties continues to pretend the whole system is automatically illegitimate whenever they lose. If they continue to act like, for their side of the aisle, a legitimate defeat is an oxymoron. That is the danger to our democracy. Every one of these attacks on our institutions only underscores how important they are. Every threat to turn our courts into a political tug-of-war only reinforces why the Senate is charged with protecting our independent judiciary -- and why this majority’s work with President Trump on this task is so crucial.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/22/2020)


Joe Biden Previously Called Court Packing ‘A Terrible, Terrible Mistake To Make’ And That Democrats Would ‘Live To Rue That Day’

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “No, I’m not prepared to go on and try to pack the court, because we’ll live to rue that day.” (“Joe Biden Interview: ‘Talk About The Future’ In Dem Primary,” Iowa Starting Line, 7/5/2019)

  • THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the Court…. But it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make, and it put in question, for an entire decade, the independence of the most significant body—including the Congress in my view—the most significant body in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, 7/13/1983)

But Now Biden Calls Court-Packing ‘A Legitimate Question’

Q: “If Trump’s Supreme Court pick goes through but you win the election, Democrats take over Senate and maintain the House, would you consider adding more Supreme Court justices to the bench?”
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “It’s a legitimate question, but let me tell you why I’m not going answer that question. Because it will shift the focus, that’s what he wants, he never wants to talk about the issue at hand and he always tries to change the subject. Let’s say I answer that question, then the whole debates gonna be about what Biden said or didn’t say, Biden said he would or wouldn’t.” (“One-On-One Interview With Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden,” WBAY Manitowoc, WI, 9/21/2020)


Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats Threaten To Wreck America’s Civic Institutions: ‘Nothing Is Off The Table,’ ‘We Pack The Court,’ ‘This Is Long Overdue Court Reform,’ ‘I’ve Always Said I’m Open … To Consider Structural Changes In The United States Senate,’ ‘We Have Our Options’ Like An Impeachment For The Sole Purpose Of Impeding The Senate

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year. Nothing is off the table.” (CBS News, 9/21/2020)

  • SCHUMER: “And I worry. I worry for the future of this chamber if the Republican majority proceeds down this dangerous path. … Tell me how. Tell me how that would not spell the end of this supposedly great deliberative body. Because I don’t see how.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 9/21/2020)
  • REPORTER: “Senator, if Biden wins the election, should he add more Supreme Court justices?”
    SCHUMER: “It will be a decision that is -- comes to the Senate. We first have to win the majority before that can happen. But once we win the majority, god willing, everything is on the table.”
    REPORTER: “Senator, just to follow up on that, at this time, do you consider abolishing the filibuster?”
    SCHUMER: “We first have to win the majority. If we don't win the majority, these questions are all moot. If we win the majority, everything is on the table.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 9/20/2020)

  • SCHUMER: “All I’ve said is our first job is to get the majority back and everything is on the table. But it was – everything is on the table. We are going to look at how we can produce change. … Everything is on the table. My Senate Democratic colleagues and candidates know America needs some change and we’re going to figure out the best way to do it.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 9/22/2020)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “If Republicans recklessly & reprehensibly force a SCOTUS vote before the election—nothing is off the table.” (Sen. Blumenthal, @SenBlumenthal, Twitter, 9/19/2020)

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): “No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.” (Sen. Markey, @EdMarkey, Twitter, 9/18/2020)

CNN’s JOHN BERMAN: “Joe Biden was asked last night repeatedly if he wins the election, would he favor adding more justices in the Supreme Court. He would not answer that question. Where do you stand on that?”
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “This is long overdue court reform as far as I'm concerned and I have been thinking about court reform and what we can do regarding the Supreme Court to make it so much more objective. And so, this is not something that a lot of us have not thought about…. So, first and foremost, Joe Biden has to get elected. Kamala Harris has to get elected. Democrats need to get elected to the Senate. We need to take back the Senate so we can address some of the hypothetical things you're taking about which I have been thinking about for years now.” (CNN, 9/22/2020)

  • HIRONO: “In the meantime we are going to explore every avenue to stop Mitch McConnell from stealing yet another Supreme Court seat.”
    MSNBC’s JOY REID: “And does that include potentially making it clear that Democrats will vote on D.C. statehood and Puerto Rico statehood immediately upon taking power and taking control of the Senate? That expanding the Supreme Court as Neal Katyal and others have said would be a completely legitimate response, saying, okay, there will be 15 seats on the Supreme Court now. That's going to happen if he goes for this and in getting rid of the filibuster in the next United States Senate?”
    HIRONO: “All of those matters will be on the agenda.” (MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” 9/19/2020)
  • MSNBC’s ANDREA MITCHELL: “Senator Schumer, on your caucus call yesterday, threatened everything is on the table if the Republicans do push this through. So is that wise to threaten everything, meaning the end of the filibuster, you know, packing the court, changing constitutional, you know, the constitutional number of nine justices? Is that wise right before an election to make those threats? …”
    HIRONO: “When we talk about everything is on the table, if you're talking specifically about court reform or filibuster reform, none of that happens if the Democrats do not take back the Senate. And so what we're talking about when we talk about tools in our toolboxes, what's available to us procedurally or otherwise.” (MSNBC, 9/21/2020)

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): “I’ve always said I’m open, even before this seat opened, to consider structural changes in the United States Senate… So those reform possibilities were on the table before we got to this point with the Supreme Court Justice opening and they will remain on the table afterwards.” (MSNBC’s “The Beat.” 9/21/2020)

MSNBC’s RACHEL MADDOW: “What do you think is within the arsenal of Senate Democrats to try to stop this from happening? I know that Senate minority leader, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has said nothing is off the table if they force through this nomination, if they get it done. What options do you think that you have tactically in order to try to stop them from doing what they want to do?”

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): “Well, Chuck is right. As he said, everything should be on the table. And we will use everything we've got.” (MSNBC, 9/21/2020)

ABC’s GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: “So what can you do then? Some have mentioned the possibility if they try to push through a nominee in a lame duck session that you and the House can move to impeach President Trump or Attorney General Barr as a way of stalling and preventing the Senate from acting on this nomination.”

HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “Well, we have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now …” (ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” 9/20/20220)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), House Judiciary Committee Chairman: “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. Nadler, @RepJerryNadler, Twitter, 9/19/2020)

REP. JOE KENNEDY III (D-MA): “If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021. It’s that simple.” (Rep. Kennedy, @RepJoeKennedy, 9/19/2020)


But Remember, None Of These Radical Threats From Democrats Are New: ‘They Have Nothing To Do With This New Vacancy; Democrats Have Already Been Playing This Game’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “It has been interesting to watch our colleagues try to recast their disturbing threats as somehow tied to this Supreme Court vacancy. No one should fall for this trick. Democrats have already been threatening these actions for months. Our colleagues now say that ‘nothing’ would be ‘off the table’ if a new Justice were to be confirmed. They want badly for people to believe these are new threats that Democrats would take off the table if Republicans would just help them sink President Trump’s nominee.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/22/2020)

  • SEN. McCONNELL: “These threats are not new. They have nothing to do with this new vacancy. Democrats have already been playing this game for more than a year and a half. It was more than a year ago that several Senate Democrats threatened the Supreme Court in a written brief. They said ‘the Court is not well [and] perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured.’ It was more than a year ago that Democrats competing for their party’s presidential nomination made Court-packing a central element in their platforms. It was more than six months ago that the Democratic Leader appeared outside the Court and threatened specific Justices if they did not rule his way.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/22/2020)
  • SEN. McCONNELL: “These threats are not new. They have nothing really to do with this vacancy…. There is no degree to which rewarding these threats would buy the nation any relief from this. There is no ‘deal’ that would stop their dangerous tactics. Giving in to political blackmail would not do a thing to secure our institutions. You do not put a stop to irresponsible hostage-taking by making hostage-taking a winning strategy.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 9/22/2020)


FLASHBACK: Democrats Have Been Threatening The Supreme Court For Some Time…

SENS. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI), DICK DURBIN (D-IL), MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI), RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), and KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’” (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, Brief Of Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin, And Kirsten Gillibrand As Amici Curiae In Support Of Respondents, 8/12/2019)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” (“Roberts Rebukes Schumer For Saying Justices Will ‘Pay The Price’ For A Vote Against Abortion Rights,” The Washington Post, 3/04/2020)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): “At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the Chief Justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?” (Congressional Record, S.717, 1/30/2020)

  • WARREN: “I’m open. … Actually, I mean, we could. Because the point is-- Look, there are a lot of different ways to do it. The number of people on the Supreme Court is not constitutionally constricted. But it’s one of the things that we certainly could talk about.” (The New York Times, Accessed 9/13/2019)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): “We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court… We have to take this challenge head on, and everything is on the table to do that.” (“2020 Dems Warm To Expanding Supreme Court,” Politico, 3/18/2020)

“Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said she has been ‘talking with people who have different ideas about what we can do — including adding to the court, including having certain circuit court judges cycle in and other ideas’ like term limits. ‘I'm open to those kinds of suggestions,’ she said.” (“Democrats Warn GOP: Don't Fill A Supreme Court Vacancy In 2020 Or We'll Retaliate,” NBC News, 8/3/2020)

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): “I’m taking nothing off the table.” (The Washington Post, Accessed 9/18/19)


… And Have Been Noisily Discussing Nuking The Filibuster Once And For All

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): “I am prepared to get rid of the filibuster to pass a Green New Deal.” (CNN, 9/04/2019)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCAHR (D-MN): “[I] would be willing to advocate for getting rid of the legislative filibuster if legislation is blocked.” (“Are 2020 Democratic Candidates Ready To Scrap The Filibuster To Fight Climate Change?,” Vox, 2/19/2020)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): “I’ve supported filibuster reform for a long time…. If the Republicans think that they are going to be able to hold up the actions that need to be taken in this country by using the filibuster then they’re wrong. We’re going to have to fight them.” (“Filibuster Reform Gains Steam With Democrats,” The Hill, 6/29/2020)

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): “I think we should do away with the filibuster… We are too dysfunctional….” (Cleveland.com, 11/8/2019)

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): “I’m very open to it. Look, I was governor of a state with two legislatures and everything is operated by simple majority. It works fine.” (“Filibuster Reform Gains Steam With Democrats,” The Hill, 6/29/2020)

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): “I will not stand idly by for four years and watch the Biden administration's initiatives blocked at every turn… I am gonna try really hard to find a path forward that doesn't require removing what's left of the structural guardrails, but if there's a Biden administration, it will be inheriting a mess, at home and abroad. It requires urgent and effective action.” (“The Biden Whisperer In The Senate,” Politico, 6/23/2020)



Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Supreme Court