The big idea is a series that asks the best lawmakers and figures to discuss their point of view: what’s the only proposition, if politics, polls and even the price tag weren’t an issue, would they implement to change the country for the better?
Representative Doug Collins has proposed a constitutional amendment to prohibit a change to the size of the Supreme Court up to 10 years after the enactment of any law that changes the number of seats in the High Court.
The amendment, which Collins, R-Ga., Plans to roll out in the next few days, comes after Democrats threatened to fill the Supreme Court if President Trump names a choice to fill the vacancy left by late Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. before the 2020 presidential election.
There is a high limit to passing an amendment: To pass, a constitutional amendment must receive approval from two-thirds of the House and Senate, as well as ratification by three-quarters of all states, or 38 out of 50.
“If Senator McConnell and @SenateGOP were to force a candidate during a lame session – before a new Senate and President can take office – the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court,” Representative Jerry Nadler, the President Democrat of the House Judiciary Committee, he tweeted over the weekend. “Filling SCOTUS ‘vacancy during a lame session after the American people voted for a new leadership is undemocratic and a clear violation of the public’s trust in elected officials.”
Nadler added: “Congress should act and the enlargement of the court would be the right place to start.”
And Rep Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., Warned that if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Votes in 2020 for a Trump candidate – which he promised to do – the Democrats “will fill in. the court in 2021. “
“It’s that simple,” Kennedy said.
The idea of ”packing” the court with extra judges – unsuccessfully attempted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937 to force parts of his New Deal that had been declared unconstitutional by the High Court – has simmered on the party’s fringes for years.
Collins discussed his amendment in detail in an interview with Fox News:
Explain the proposed amendment.
The proposed amendment – in fact, it should be a bipartisan issue. We shouldn’t have decisions like packing up the court to be based on emotional or political decisions. And just in the last couple of days, we’ve seen Jerry Nadler, we’ve seen Joe Kennedy, we’ve seen others say, you know, we just, if the president goes on with his constitutional responsibility, they should win the Senate or win the House too, they can fill. the field.
What my amendment does is simply try to get rid of the political emotion of the moment and say that if a law is passed to enlarge the court, it can only take place 10 years after that bill is passed.
You really have to want to change the size of the court, not for simple political retaliation but for a real reason, so we believe this simply brings it back to a bipartisan issue that could actually be done.
The reason we did this is because it seems like the Democrats, whenever they don’t get what they want, they want to change the rules.
I’ve seen it all in this Congress with impeachments and investigations, they just want to change the rules when they don’t get what they want.
Why do you consider court packaging a bipartisan issue?
I don’t think it is necessary to add anything to the courts.
I think nine is the number we need to stick to, so for me this amendment should be bipartisan in the sense that we shouldn’t rush to make emotional decisions because we haven’t gotten what we want.
This amendment is unlikely to be brought to the House by the Democratic leadership, so can you explain the purpose of its introduction? Is it to start a conversation?
Well, number one, we haven’t seen many bills brought into the courtroom under this Democratic House leadership, except the things they want to attack the president about, so for us, that means you won’t have the floor to yourself.
I have made it my policy in this Congress that when Democrats want to do things that I think are wrong for the country or are not useful or do it in a way that defies the rules, I will call them out.
And again, this is another way to say it and have a conversation, instead of reacting emotionally, let’s take a look at what the legislation should do and if we need to have something with the court, let’s talk about it.
Is this amendment something you intended to propose even before the death of the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
It’s something we thought about, but it was mostly spurred on by the exaggerated rhetoric of the Democrats in the last few days of his passing.
We’ve had these problems before and the Democrats have threatened things like this, but for the most part this is a reaction to their frankly exaggerated attitude.
Do you think the Senate should go ahead with a Trump Supreme Court candidate?
As quickly as possible. Just remember that Judge Ginsburg also had 43 days from her appointment to her actual confirmation, so it can be done. And I believe the ones we’re talking about right now have been checked before, so it’s not like we’re repeating the verification process on someone new, at least it looks like that, so yeah, I think if they have the grades, go ahead with it .
Especially since American voters will actually have a chance to talk about this on November 3 as well. It’s not like a lame president who will never show up in elections again, they get a chance to see if they like what the president liked or not what the president did in fulfilling his constitutional role.