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Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has a warning for Democrats eager to pack the Supreme Court with ideologically liberal justices.
Reid’s comments came one day after President Joe Biden signed an executive order forming a commission to study expanding the Supreme Court.
What did Reid say?
Reid, who served two decades in the Senate before retiring in 2017, told CNN on Saturday that packing the Supreme Court, which Democrats want to do, could ultimately backfire.
In fact, Reid said Democrats need to be “very, very careful” making such threats.
“I have no problem with the commission, but I think that the commission is going to come back and disappoint a lot of people because I think they’re going to come back and say, ‘We should just kind of leave it alone,'” Reid said.
“I think it would be inappropriate at this time after that long history we’ve had in the country to have term limits for judges,” Reid continued.
“I think that we better be very, very careful in saying that we need to expand the Supreme Court. I think we better be very, very, careful,” he added.
Reid, who was speaking with CNN host Jim Acosta about the Senate filibuster, went on to predict “the filibuster is on its way out. It’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when.'”
What is the background?
Following Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last fall, and then-President Donald Trump’s promise to fill the Supreme Court vacancy with yet another conservative jurist, Democrats began openly advocating for court packing under the guise of “reform” and “balance.”
At the time, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden dodged the issue, but finally promised to establish a commission of legal experts to consider the implications of expanding the court. Biden made good on that promise last week.
The White House said in a statement:
The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals.
The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices.
However, Supreme Court justices themselves are vocally against court packing.
Justice Stephen Breyer, who has refused to buckle under pressure from progressives to retire, denounced court packing while speaking at Harvard Law School last week.
“Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that latter perception, further eroding that trust,” Breyer said.
Ginsburg also rejected court packing in an interview several years prior to her passing.
“[I]f anything would make the court appear partisan then it would be [court packing], one side saying, ‘When we’re in power we’re going to enlarge the number of judges so we’ll have more people who will vote the way we want them to,'” Ginsburg said.