Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote a scathing opinion article for Thursday’s Washington Post, lambasting any potential effort by Democrats to switch the U.S. Supreme Court by including new seats or adjusting the physique’s lifetime appointments, however he neglected key moments of his personal political historical past.
“Judicial independence is as fragile as it is important. The Framers of our Constitution took great pains to protect it,” the senator wrote, demanding that Democrats “leave the Supreme Court alone.” “Every single American deserves every possible guarantee that they will receive impartial justice. It would be beyond reckless for Democrats to smash this centuries-old safeguard in a fit of partisan pique.”
The piece neglected any point out of McConnell’s personal dramatic and unprecedented efforts to reshape not simply the Supreme Court however the nation’s complete judiciary to lean extra conservative. As Senate majority chief, the Republican broke precedent and refused to carry hearings on Merrick Garland, nominated by President Barack Obama in March 2016, pointing to a “principle” about Supreme Court vacancies in an election 12 months. He broke that so-called precept final 12 months following the demise of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18, 2020, and rushed to verify Amy Coney Barrett at a breakneck tempo.
“The Senate exists to defeat shortsighted proposals and protect our institutions from structural vandalism. That is our job,” McConnell wrote within the Thursday article. “The American people need their judges to do theirs: follow the law wherever it may lead, independent and unafraid.”
The Republican chief’s op-ed comes amid work by a presidential fee established by President Joe Biden in April to research Democratic proposals to retool the courtroom. The bipartisan physique of consultants has already expressed skepticism a couple of main overhaul of the federal judiciary, in accordance with draft paperwork, saying such a move “would be perceived by many as a partisan maneuver.”
There is extra assist on the panel for potential time period limits, and one other draft paper launched by the fee final month stated a proposal for 18-year appointments “warrants serious consideration.” Those stances echo current polls that present extra assist for time period or age limits and minority assist for increasing the courtroom’s measurement.
The fee will maintain a fifth public assembly subsequent week, and it’s anticipated to launch a ultimate report on the concepts subsequent month.
McConnell and different Republicans, now out of energy, have latched on to the Democratic proposals coming from the occasion’s progressive flank however have commonly refused to hyperlink these frustrations to the GOP’s personal politicking.
“Even as the political left tries to spin the cancellation of life tenure as a half-step back from an even crazier opening bid, term limits would still be institutional vandalism,” McConnell wrote within the Post. “If a Republican administration came anywhere near flirting with such a proposal, the outrage from liberals would have been deafening.”
There was, the truth is, outrage final 12 months throughout Barrett’s affirmation, however McConnell didn’t heed it.
Regardless of what the panel recommends, any change to the Supreme Court faces an inconceivable battle. Democrats maintain the slimmest of majorities within the Senate, with a number of caucus members vocally saying they wouldn’t vote to increase the courtroom or abolish the Senate filibuster rules.
The Washington Post notes the time period limits thought could be much more tough to institute, probably requiring a constitutional modification.