Contact: Charles Nichols
[Madison, WI] — Yesterday, former U.S. Attorney General turned political activist Eric Holder said the next Democratic president should consider adding seats to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to counter Republican nominated justices. This news comes just days after Holder announced he is coming to Wisconsin next week to campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Lisa Neubauer and that his political group plans to spend $350,000 to get her elected. Holder is the first high-profile Democrat to endorse the idea of expanding the Supreme Court – a proposal that virtually all elected Democrats have either ignored or dismissed out of hand. As a sitting Court of Appeals judge vying for a seat on our state’s highest court and a direct recipient of Holder’s political influence, Neubauer should tell voters if she supports the idea of expanding the Supreme Court.
Read the full write-up here or find excerpts below.
Eric Holder Says Next Democratic President Should Consider Court Packing
March 7, 2019
Former Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that the next Democratic president should “seriously” consider adding additional seats to the United States Supreme Court should they be elected alongside a Democratic majority in the Senate.
“In response to a question, Attorney General Holder said that given the unfairness, unprecedented obstruction, and disregard of historical precedent by Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans, when Democrats retake the majority they should consider expanding the Supreme Court to restore adherence to previously accepted norms for judicial nominations,” said spokesman Patrick Rodenbush.
Holder’s willingness to entertain the idea of court packing makes him one of the most senior Democratic officials to do so. To date, virtually all elected Democrats have either ignored the proposal or dismissed it out of hand. The one 2020 Democratic candidate who has said that court packing should be a consideration is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Calls for Democrats to embrace court packing—adding additional seats to the Supreme Court and subsequently filling them—have come in response to anger within the party’s base over how Republicans in the Senate handled the Supreme Court nomination process over the past few years. President Barack Obama’s last nominee, Merrick Garland, was held up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during the last year of Obama’s presidency.
After Donald Trump won election in 2016, McConnell used a measure previously adopted by Harry Reid to change the rules of the Senate to allow for a simple majority vote for confirmation of Supreme Court nominees. Subsequently, Trump was able get his two nominees to the Court—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—confirmed with fewer than 60 votes.
Progressives who have championed the idea of court packing as a remedy embraced Holder’s suggestion that this would be an appropriate response to consider.
“More and more Democrats are becoming convinced that we cannot resign ourselves to the third branch of government being captive to partisan Republican forces for the next 30 years,” said Brian Fallon, executive director of the progressive group Demand Justice. “Any progressive reforms that a Democratic president would pursue in 2021 would come under threat from the Supreme Court.
Read the full write-up here.