Senate Majority Leader McConnell on “Court-Packing” Threats: Democrats Abuse Language to Set Up Abuse of Power

LOUISVILLE, KY – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued the following statement today regarding Democrats’ continuing threats to pack the Supreme Court:


“It is bizarre to watch Vice President Biden and other Democrats refuse to give a straight answer on their own party’s threats to pack the Supreme Court. But it is even more absurd for them to try to redefine “court-packing” to mean any judicial confirmation that disappoints Democrats.

“A prominent philosopher wrote that when leaders abuse language, it is because they seek to abuse power. Anyone who studied U.S. history in high school knows that “court-packing” has a clear definition: A partisan attempt to expand the Supreme Court beyond nine seats, so new Justices can be added despite the Court having no vacancies.

“It is not “court-packing” when the Senate confirms nominees to fill actual vacancies. It is not “court-packing” when Senators choose not to confirm everyone a president nominates. This is the Senate doing its job, as Senates have done since 1789. Democrats are trying to use talking points to gaslight the American people.

“It was Democrats who pioneered routine filibusters of judicial nominees in the 2000s under President Bush. Senator Schumer bragged “I am the leader of [the filibuster movement], and you know, I’m proud of it.” Then, when Republicans used the same tools under President Obama, it was Democrats who escalated again and changed Senate rules to avoid tasting their own medicine.

“For nearly 20 years, any time the confirmation process has temporarily disappointed Democrats, they have insisted the system is illegitimate and the rules need tearing up. Now they want to redefine filling open vacancies as “court-packing” so it seems less appalling when they try to do the real thing. Vice President Biden also falsely claims that confirming Judge Barrett would be “not constitutional.” Even Politifact has rated his claim “False.”

“Abuse of language; abuse of power.

“There is a reason why the late Justice Ginsburg opposed court-packing, saying “nine seems to be a good number.” Court-packing by either party would guarantee retribution when the Senate and the White House next changed hands. The escalation would not end. Our independent judiciary would spiral into one more partisan battleground. And the judgments of Supreme Court would be delegitimized.

“Huge majorities of Americans oppose court-packing. But last year, while campaigning, Senator Harris said she was “absolutely open to it.” And now Vice President Biden says “you’ll know my opinion on court-packing the minute the election is over.” Even as Senate Democrats badger Judge Barrett to improperly pre-judge hypothetical cases, their own presidential nominee says voters must elect him before they get to find out what he believes.

“Throughout Vice President Biden’s Senate career, he condemned the idea of packing the Supreme Court. He called President Roosevelt’s failed attempt a “terrible mistake.” He praised the “courage” of Senators who stopped it.

“If Vice President Biden still believed that, it would be easy to say so.

“The only reason to duck, dodge, and obfuscate if the far left is now calling the shots. The only reason for this abuse of language is to set up an abuse of power.”