Sen. John Barrasso: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was Against Court Packing

By Melanie Arter | September 22, 2020 | 4:43pm EDT
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIA
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIA

( – Despite Democrats’ threats to do otherwise, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spoken out against packing the court, saying it would politicize the high court, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said Tuesday.

“So what have we heard from Chuck Schumer? We’ve heard threats, threats to the institutions of our nation, and he says if you do this, he will do that. These threats have been going on for a long period of time. Remember in the spring when Chuck Schumer stood outside the Supreme Court, and he yelled at the building and yelled at Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and said, you will pay the price,” Barrasso said.

“What’s he threatening to do? Add members to the Supreme Court if President Trump is not reelected and if the Senate goes into Democrat hands. If you have the House, the Senate and the presidency in Democrat hands, that’s what you’re looking at. Now adding members of the Supreme Court, do you know who said it’s a bad idea? Ruth Bader Ginsburg," he said.

“Last year in an interview, she said don't do it. She said nine is the right number. She said to expand the court would politicize it and would not be the thing to do, but the Democrats aren’t going to listen to her,” the senator said.

“After President Trump makes his nomination, they’re going to go on a seek and destroy mission to undermine whoever the president nominates, however well qualified to undermine their credibility and their character,” he said.

In an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) last year, Ginsburg dismissed the tactic of court packing.

"Nine seems to be a good number. It's been that way for a long time," she said, adding, "I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court."

Meanwhile, the reason why Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden refuses to say who his potential Supreme Court nominees would be is because no matter who he picks, he would upset his base, Barrasso said.

He noted that Biden also refused to answer whether he would expand the number of justices on the high court.

“He didn't really answer either, and the reason he didn’t answer who is on your short list is he knows if he answered any way, he would alienate at least half of his voters – either those loyal to the Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez side of the ledger, or those who are not quite as extreme as they are, but either way, it was a loser question for Joe Biden,” the senator said.

Barasso also mentioned that Biden was instrumental in opposing the Supreme Court nominations of Judge Robert Bork and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

“I don't know what Joe Biden remembers, but when you think back of the time when he played such a role in hearings for Judge Bork. He was the one that basically turned on what became a political circus. I don't know if he remembers that he was the one that smeared Clarence Thomas. I don't know if Joe Biden remembers that he is on that let the filibuster of Justice Alito,” he said.

"I’m not sure what he recalls of any of those, but I do know that the Democrats today here will continue to remember those lessons and use them against whoever it is that President Trump nominates,” the senator said.

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