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Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Sunday called Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s refusal to say whether he would add seats to the Supreme Court if elected “grotesque,” saying court packing amounts to the “suicide bombing of two branches of government.”
“It’s grotesque that Vice President Biden won’t answer that really basic question,” Sasse said in an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “And it isn’t just one branch of government, what they’re really talking about or refusing to talk about, is the suicide bombing of two branches of government.”
What they’re talking about is blowing up the deliberative structure of the United States Senate by abolishing the filibuster and making it possible to turn the Senate into just another House of Representatives where every two years by a 51-49 or 49-51 majority major portions of American life change. And they’re going about doing that to pack the Supreme Court.
Sasse’s comments come as a bitter political battle is set to play out in confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett beginning on Monday. Republicans have quickly moved to confirm Barrett ahead of the November 3 election, and in response many on the left have called on Democrats to add additional seats to the nine-seat Supreme Court in retaliation.
When asked on Friday whether voters “deserve to know” if he would pack the court, Biden responded, “No, they don’t.”
Sasse also called the efforts of Senator Chris Coons (D., Del.) to excuse Biden’s evasion of the court packing question “Orwellian.”
“For the last four years I’ve seen unprecedented court packing where nominees to fill lifetime seats in the federal judiciary who the American Bar Association said were not qualified got jammed through,” Coons said on Fox News Sunday, moments before Sasse’s appearance, seemingly changing the definition of court packing in order to avoid the question.
Coons said that Republicans’ push to confirm Barrett “constitutes court packing” and called her views “not just extreme,” but “disqualifying.”
Sasse denounced the politicization of the courts, accusing the left of wanting to turn the Supreme Court into “a super legislature to advance things they can’t get done through the electorate.”
“That is not what textualists want,” he said.
He called Barrett a “rock star” who is “very clear about her jurisprudence.”
“She’s an originalist and she is a textualist, which means when she puts on her black robe in the morning, she knows what it is to be a judge, and that is to cloak your personal preferences,” he said. “Our judges don’t wear red or blue jerseys, they don’t advocate for policy positions and we shouldn’t be having either Democrats or Republicans on the committee trying to figure out how can they divine the future of how they’ll rule on particular cases.”
When Wallace asked if Sasse, who is pro-life, is counting on Barrett to either end or restrict Roe v. Wade , the Nebraska senator said that while it is his job to tout specific policies as a member of Congress, that that “isn’t what a judge’s job is.”
“Every time people have said they can predict how judges are going to rule in the future, they’re almost always disappointed and wrong,” he said.