(USA Features) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at Democrats Thursday over legislation to add four justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, accusing them of using the “threat” to force the existing justices to back a “liberal agenda.”
“Time and again, prominent Democrats show they are no longer content to work within the ground rules and norms of our institutions, but prefer to threaten the institutions themselves,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said.
He went on to recall that recently, now-Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. threatened justices if they ruled against his part on key issues, saying they “won’t know what hit them,” and that Democrats are attempting to subvert “judicial independence.”
McConnell’s comments came after Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., introduced legislation to change the nation’s highest court.
The measure expands the current number of justices from nine to 13, and while the bill faces a steep uphill battle if passed it would give President Joe Biden an opportunity to add four liberals to the high court, tipping the balance of power away from conservatives who hold a sometimes 6-3, but more often 5-4, majority, as Chief Justice John Roberts has often sided with the left on key issues.
But McConnell said the real objective isn’t passage of the bill per se, but the threat of it.
“It’s not just about whether this insane bill becomes law,” the minority leader said. “Part of the point here are the threats themselves. The left wants a sword dangling over the justices when they weigh the facts in every case.
“Democrats want the justices to know that they will ‘pay the price’ for rulings that Democrats don’t like,” McConnell added. “The threats are the point, the hostage-taking is the point.”
Other Republicans have also blasted the legislation and warned that court-packing will result in substantial losses of liberties.
“If Democrats pack the court, our free speech rights go out the window, our religious liberty goes out the window, and the Second Amendment is effectively repealed from the Bill of Rights,” Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said.