Senate Republicans told their Democratic colleagues to “back off” Thursday on the progressive push to pack the Supreme Court.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said Democrats in Congress are trying to make Washington, D.C., a state, pack the Supreme Court and pass legislation to nationalize elections in order to rig the system in their favor.
“If you go down this road, you destroy the country and there is no going back,” he said on the steps of the Supreme Court. “The road to anarchy is being paved with this agenda.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said the Supreme Court needs to be fair and impartial but adding seats to the court would make it merely political.
“They are trying to cheat and break the rule of law,” Mr. Cruz said. “They are trying to rig the Supreme Court.”
Instead of packing the court, Republicans said they want to work with the Democrats on policing legislation, with national attention focused on police shootings and the need for increased training.
Progressive lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced legislation earlier this month to add four seats to the Supreme Court, which would in theory give Democratic-appointed judges a 7-6 majority, instead of the current 6-3 conservative bench.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the brakes on the plan, saying she wanted to wait and see what President Biden’s new commission on the court suggests. It was created through executive order recently to study the Supreme Court, but has not yet met or conducted any substantial business.
Even if the court-packing legislation were to pass the House, the Senate is divided 50-50, and with the 60-vote threshold intact with the filibuster, it’s very unlikely any Republicans would join Democrats to pass the bill.
But progressive lawmakers are demanding that Democrats in the Senate abolish the filibuster, which they say is racist and a relic of the Jim Crow era.
“It’s LGBTQ+ equality or the filibuster. It’s DC Statehood or the filibuster. It’s voting rights or the filibuster. It’s the Dream Act, gun safety reforms, campaign finance reform, and equal pay or the filibuster. The choice is clear. We must #EliminateTheFilibuster,” tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat, and chair of the House Progressive Caucus.
Republicans said playing the race card won’t work, and that Democrats used the filibuster to stop former President Donald Trump’s agenda when they were in the minority.
“This is hypocrisy,” said Mr. Graham. “There is nothing racist about keeping the filibuster. If it is a tool of racism, why did they use it so much when they were in the minority?”