As Barrett begins questioning, Senate Dem admits court packing 'an ongoing debate'

"Right now, I'm focused on this nominee in the next days and weeks," Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said when asked about packing the Supreme Court.

Updated: October 13, 2020 - 11:22am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

With the first questioning of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett beginning Tuesday, Senate Democrats are trying to frame the battle over her confirmation as a referendum on Obamacare, while at the same time evading questions about a potential court-packing strategy to maintain voter enthusiasm among the party's progressive base.

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Just the News that expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court, or court-packing, is an "ongoing debate" and declined to say how many justices he would like to see on the highest court in the land.

"I have thought about the number of justices and the structure of the court for about 40 years," said Blumenthal. "Ever since I was a law clerk to Justice Blackmun, we would have debates among the law clerks. Should it be nine? Maybe 13 is a better number. You know, this is an ongoing debate in American jurisprudence." 

"Right now, I'm focused on this nominee in the next days and weeks," Blumenthal continued, "and, frankly, none of the debate about the number of justices or life tenure or the ethics rules — which by the way, I think should be applied to the Supreme Court; right now they're under no ethics, rules, disclosure or otherwise — all will be meaningful only if there's a change in the makeup of the Senate and at the White House." 

Blumenthal was asked directly how many justices he thinks should be on the Supreme Court. "I'm still thinking," he replied.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris have repeatedly dodged questions about their official position on expanding the number of justices on the Supreme Court.

Harris avoided answering a court-packing question again on Monday.

"We are 22 days away from an election, and people are voting right now, and that's the focus given that they're trying to ram through a Supreme Court justice for a lifetime while almost 7 million people have already voted," Harris said on Monday before the first confirmation hearing.

Just the News Spotlight