The Democrats of the 2010s have become the Party that refuses to respect results or the rule of law. While the most obvious example is their continuing efforts to undermine elections, the most recent example, and most troubling to those who practice law, may be the recent threats of Senate Democrats to the courts. As we wrote last week, Senator Whitehouse threatened the Supreme Court in an unprecedented amicus brief. Today, Senate Republicans responded.
It is first important to note that Senate Republicans' response did not say Senators can’t file amicus briefs or even discuss the merits of the particular case in which Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and other Democrat filed a brief. Those activities are perfectible acceptable and the Senate is designed to debate issues. However, led by Senator Whitehouse, Senate Democrats did much more than file a brief, as Senate Republicans wrote in a letter to the Clerk of the Supreme Court:
They openly threatened this Court with political retribution if it failed to dismiss the petition as moot. The brief’s final paragraph warned: “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.” The implication is as plain as day: Dismiss this case, or we’ll pack the Court.
. . . judicial independence is under assault. Democrats in Congress, and on the presidential campaign trail, have peddled plans to pack this Court with more justices in order to further their radical legislative agenda. It’s one thing for politicians to peddle these ideas in Tweets or on the stump. But the Democrats’ amicus brief demonstrates that their court-packing plans are more than mere pandering. They are a direct, immediate threat to the independence of the judiciary and the rights of all Americans.
Senate Republicans across the political spectrum stand firm in their support of judicial independence. Senate Republicans will fight to protect the Constitution and the separation of powers. As they wrote:
We ask that the Justices stand firm and do their part to protect our “government of laws, not of men.”
For our part, we promise this: While we remain Members of this body, the Democrats’ threat to “restructure” the Court is an empty one. We share Justice Ginsburg’s view that “nine seems to be a good number.” And it will remain that way as long as we are here.
Thank you, Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans, for defending the rule of law.