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GOP Senator Called Out After He Warned Democrats Against 'Packing the Supreme Court'

GOP Senator Called Out After He Warned Democrats Against 'Packing the Supreme Court'
Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

The structure and composition of the Supreme Court is under scrutiny after the White House announced it would be forming a commission to examine the possibility of expanding the court from its current nine seats.

The bipartisan commission will include legal scholars, former federal judges, and advocates for the reform of democratic institutions.

In a statement announcing the commission, the White House said:

"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."

The development has revived the Republican talking point from the 2020 election that Democrats are hell-bent on expanding the size of the court in order to defeat the conservative majority that developed under former President Donald Trump.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas is the latest Republican to amplify that claim, asserting that Democrats would do "anything for power."

The claim is rich, considering Republicans' past actions regarding the Supreme Court.

After the late Justice Antonin Scalia died in early 2016, then-President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, refused to even grant Garland a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, despite the Constitution expressly allocating for a President's right to nominate replacements for vacant Court seats.

Their excuse? It was too close to the 2016 election, 10 months away.

The Supreme Court was left with a vacant seat for an entire year, until Trump was safely in office and nominated now-Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Court.

Flash forward to late September of 2020, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. Early voting for the 2020 election had already begun, and Election Day was only weeks away.

Nevertheless, Republicans confirmed Trump's nominee, now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett, to the nation's highest Court, despite backlash accusing them of hypocrisy for reversing the stance they held when Scalia's seat opened.

Cotton's tweet was met with the same accusations of hypocrisy.

Some simply responded with Garland's name.

Garland now serves in the Biden administration as Attorney General.