- The Washington Times
Friday, October 22, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell scolded Democrats during an event Thursday celebrating Justice Clarence Thomas’ 30-year anniversary on the Supreme Court.

The Kentucky Republican said Senate Democrats and progressives are trying to ruin the notion of an independent judiciary with their threats to pack the high court and end lifetime tenure for federal judges over unhappiness with the court‘s conservative rulings.

“My friends, storm clouds are gathering on the horizon. The very concept of an independent and insulated judiciary is at stake,” he said.

Speaking at the event hosted by the Heritage Foundation, Mr. McConnell recounted how a group of Senate Democrats filed an amicus brief in a gun case roughly two years ago threatening to pack the court if the justices got involved in the matter.

Democrats have raised concerns about the 6-3 conservative majority on the high court weighing Second Amendment cases, among other legal battles touching on political divisive matters such as abortion. The justices, in fact, will weigh a gun case next month over the right to carry firearms outside the home.

Mr. McConnell also noted how Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, took to the Supreme Court steps in 2020, threatening Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh by name at a protest involving a Louisiana abortion case.

“I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you, Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price,” Mr. Schumer said at the time.

More recently, President Biden created a commission to study the Supreme Court in order to detail the pros and cons of changing the size of the court and the current policy of lifetime tenure for appointees.

In the past, some liberals have proposed adding four new seats for Mr. Biden to fill. That would bring the high court to a 7-6 Democratic majority.

But earlier this month in a draft report, the commission punted on the issue, saying although it would be legal to add seats, there could be political backlash.

Mr. McConnell insisted the Democratic Party has decided to take aim at one of America’s institutions.

“Hostage-takers never settle for half a loaf,” he said. “There is only one valid response to these efforts to bully impartiality out of America’s courtrooms: To give them no corner. To pay them no heed. We need jurists, young and old, whose only response to these blustering threats is to redouble their commitment to follow the law wherever it may lead, with no fear or favor.”

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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