Sasse: 'It's grotesque' Biden and Dems won't discuss 'suicide bombing' court packing

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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse on Sunday slammed former Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats for deflecting questions over whether they would move to add seats to the Supreme Court.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” the Nebraska Republican said a dual move to change the Senate rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation and to expand the size of the Supreme Court would amount to a “suicide bombing” of the two institutions.

“It’s grotesque that Vice President Biden won’t answer that really basic question. And it isn’t just one branch of government,” Sasse said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “What they’re really talking about — or refusing to talk about — is the suicide bombing of two branches of government.”

“What they’re talking about is blowing up the deliberative structure of the United States Senate by abolishing the filibuster and making it possible to turn the Senate into just another House of Representatives where every two years, by a 51-49 or 49-51 majority, major portions of American life change,” the Nebraska Republican added. “And they’re talking about doing that to pack the Supreme Court.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Sasse is a member, is set to begin confirmation hearings Monday for Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s nominee to succeed the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The hearing will be held despite Democratic protests that the seat should be filled by the winner of the November election after Senate Republicans refused to hold election-year hearings for an Obama nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016.

Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee and a former chair of the Judiciary Committee, has repeatedly refused to answer whether he’d back adding seats to the Supreme Court. Biden instead argued Saturday that Republicans filling the vacancy just weeks before the election constitutes court packing.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously tried to expand the court with the Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937, a move that failed. Roosevelt, however, was able to stay in the White House long enough to appoint eight justices, including some of the most influential in history (Felix Frankfurter, Hugo Black, William O. Douglas).

In separate Fox interview, Democratic Sens. Chris Coons of Delaware, a close ally of Biden, also deflected on the question of court packing, instead arguing Republicans are packing the court and criticizing Barrett as a likely vote to overturn the Affordable Care Act and limit abortion rights.

“I’m going to be laying out the ways in which Judge Barrett’s views, her views on reaching back and reconsidering and overturning long-settled precedent are not just extreme — they’re disqualifying,” Coons said.

“Instead of passing a Covid relief package that will help millions of American …. we’re focusing on jamming through Judge Barrett,” Coons added. “I think this constitutes court packing.”

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