Preisdent Donald Trump lashed out at Democrats and claimed, without providing evidence, that they have expressed a desire to expand the Supreme Court to 26 justices. The president said the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September, would “strongly opposed” calls to expand the nation’s highest court.
“Now it turns out that the Democrats want the Pack the Court with 26 Justices. This would be terrible, and must be stopped. Even Justice RBG was strongly opposed!” the president wrote.
Now it turns out that the Democrats want the Pack the Court with 26 Justices. This would be terrible, and must be stopped. Even Justice RBG was strongly opposed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2020
Democrats have railed against what they’ve said is the Republican hypocrisy of rushing to appoint a new Supreme Court justice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was quick to announce after Ginsburg died and opened up a court vacancy that he would like to bring President Trump’s nominee to the Senate floor for a confirmation hearing and a vote. In 2016, McConnell infamously denied Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, a hearing, arguing that it would be inappropriate for a president to appoint a new justice during an election year.
Ultimately, President Trump nominated then-federal judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg. Barrett was confirmed ahead of the 2020 election, securing a conservative majority on the court.
Barrett received McConnell’s endorsement before her confirmation. She was one of President Trump’s finalists for the Supreme Court in 2018, the year he nominated Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She has earned praise among conservatives for being a reliable conservative jurist on matters related to abortion, immigration, and the Second Amendment.
Although there is no limit on how many justices can sit on the Supreme Court, some critics, like CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, have expressed doubt that expanding the court will gain any traction.
“Democrats are great about talking big, but we’ll see if he and the other Democrats have the guts to do anything,” Toobin said in September. “If they retake control of the Senate, will they really add the two seats on the Supreme Court? They’re weak and they’re wimps and they’re afraid.”
“There is a difference to how Democrats and Republicans go about these fights, and we’ll see if Democrats learn anything from Republicans here,” Toobin continued. “Yes, it’s interesting that Chuck Schumer said nothing is off the table, but that’s not a commitment to do anything.”