Mary Trump isn’t a fan of Amy Coney Barrett. (Getty/Peter Serling/Simon and Schuster)
Mary Trump shared her thoughts on Amy Coney Barrett taking a seat on the Supreme Court in typically succinct fashion.
As Barrett was sworn in as the newest Supreme Court justice following an unprecedentedly hurried and controversial nomination, the president’s niece took to Twitter.
“Expand the court,” she wrote, echoing the calls of many including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Expand the Court.
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) October 27, 2020
What is court packing?
Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation means the court is now heavy with muscular conservatives, tipping the balance 6-3 in their favour and putting LGBT+ and other human rights at risk. With all nine appointments lifetime ones, the only way of quickly bringing the court back to the centre ground – or as some would have it, further left – would be to increase its numbers.
The idea of expanding, or packing, the Supreme Court has been widely floated since Republicans confirmed they would be replacing the legendary Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the US election.
Ginsburg’s last wish was that she would not be replaced until a new president had been chosen. A precedent set by senate majority leader Mitch McConnell in 2016 dictated that this would be the case, but McConnell pressed ahead with Barrett’s nomination, ultimately confirming her just eight days before what is widely considered the biggest election in modern US history.
While the Supreme Court has been fixed at nine seats since 1869, it had previously grown from six to 10, and can be altered through a simple bill approved by both chambers of Congress.
Franklin D Roosevelt attempted to expand the court in 1937 to achieve a more favourable balance, but failed to do so.
Would Joe Biden pack the Supreme Court?
Joe Biden has for the most part avoided questions on court packing since Barrett was nominated, but on Sunday (October 25) indicated he’s not in favour.
“The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football, whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want,” Biden told CBS’ 60 Minutes.
“Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations.”
This echoed an argument he made during a 2019 debate, in which he said: “We add three justices — next time around, we lose control, they add three justices.”
Instead, Biden said on Sunday, he would convene a bipartisan group of scholars, who would after 180 days give recommendations to reform the “out of whack” court system. Other options that have been floated include making Supreme Court justice appointments fixed term, and limiting the court’s jurisdiction.
“It’s not about court packing,” Biden said.
“There’s a number of other things that our constitutional scholars have debated and I’ve looked to see what recommendations that commission might make.”
Angus King, the independent senator from Maine, gave a different take on the Senate floor Monday (October 26).
“I don’t want to pack the court,” he said.
“I don’t want to change that number. I don’t want to have to do that. But if all of this rule breaking is taking place, what does the majority expect? What do they expect?
“They expect that they are going to be able to break the rules with impunity and, when the shoe maybe is on the other foot, nothing is going to happen? The people over here are going to say, oh well, we can’t change the rules?”