Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts called the current Supreme Court a “clear and present danger” and suggested the only way to right it would for Congress to add four justices – to make up for Republicans’ “stolen” appointments.
Markey is one of seven congressional co-sponsors of the Judiciary Act of 2023, which was introduced in May and seeks to bring the total number of justices to 13. Appearing Tuesday night on “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell, Markey was asked to lay out his case for packing the court.
“It’s a pretty clear case,” he said. “In 2016, the Republicans allowed the seat of Justice Scalia to remain vacant for 422 days, denying Barack Obama his ability to have Merrick Garland confirmed saying it was a sacred principle that justices should not be confirmed during election years.”
Then in 2020, after Justice Ginsberg died, “all of a sudden, there was no principle. Within 10 days before the 2020 election, they confirmed Amy Coney Barett. So they stole two justices. They have created an absolute illegitimate, far-right wing Supreme Court that is poised to overturn rights that have been enshrined in law for generations.”
That’s when Markey went all Tom Clancy on the sitting court:
“This is a clear and present danger to our country,” he said. “Because this is the hand-picked court of the heritage and other groups that have sought to have this control that will go back 50 and 60 and more years in order to take off the books protections that Americans have taken for granted.”
O’Donnell noted that when the nine-justice court was set in 1869, it reflected nine federal courts of appeal. Bringing the high court up to 13, he said, would bring it in line with the current 13 U.S. appellate circuits. Markey attempted to justify the number further:
“We update what they did in 1869, and we create the 13 seats, but we also reclaim the two stolen seats that [Sen. Mitch] McConnell in 2016 and Trump in 2020 stole, and then we add two more, and we have appointments that Biden and President Obama should have been able to make,” he said. “And that brings us from the nine to the number which is the number that it should be right now.”
Watch the segment just before the 15-minute mark in the video above.