Last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., continued his efforts to swat down the calls from some Democrats to alter the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rubio joined U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and every Senate Republican in sending a letter to the clerk of the Supreme Court taking aim at U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s, D-RI, brief in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. Whitehouse question some Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court should be able to rule on cases involving Second Amendment rights.
“The Democrats’ threat to pack the Supreme Court and intimidate the court’s decision is just their latest shortsighted effort to undermine America’s confidence in our institutions and our democracy,” Rubio said on Thursday. “Today, Senate Republicans are making it clear that our institutions matter, our Constitution matters, and we should fight to protect them.”
In recent months, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has floated the idea of a future president pushing to expand the Supreme Court beyond its current composition of nine justices. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, currently a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has called for expanding the Supreme Court to 15 justices. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, who ended her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last week, has said she is open to expanding the court.
Rubio pushed back in a piece published at Fox News back in March.
“America’s institutions are far from perfect. But over the past two centuries, they have provided a framework for our nation to become the most dynamic, most vibrant, and most exceptional nation in all of human history,” Rubio wrote. “At this moment though, our institutions are suffering a crisis of confidence as families fragment and communities crumble. And most Americans view every branch of government with disdain.
“As we have seen, these problems do not necessarily fade from one election to the next. In fact, they may intensify. The path forward will require Americans, their political leaders, the news media and countless others to set aside the political tribalism that dominates today’s culture,” Rubio added. “Americans need to view one another as friends, neighbors and coworkers – not Republicans or Democrats.
“How does a divided nation overcome corrosive tribalism? Ultimately, we need a restoration of family and community. In the meantime, we should do no further harm. To this end, I am proposing a constitutional amendment to prevent the next political and cultural flashpoint: the packing of the Supreme Court for partisan gains,” Rubio insisted. “‘I want – as all Americans want – an independent judiciary as proposed by the framers of the Constitution,’ President Franklin D. Roosevelt explained in a fireside chat 82 years ago. While his language was unifying, FDR’s proposal was a transparent attempt to expand the nation’s highest court so he could appoint additional justices who would not stand in the way of his ambitious political agenda.
“The modern incarnation of court-packers shares FDR’s goals, though they are less unifying in their language. Proponents of a Democratic-led court-packing scheme foresee an impending ‘crisis’ – one that they use to justify their highly partisan tactics,” Rubio added.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.