Jerry Nadler says Democrats should ‘immediately’ move to expand the Supreme Court if the GOP pushes a lame duck vote

  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler voiced support for adding new justices to the US Supreme Court if Senate Republicans fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a lame duck session.
  • “Filling the SCOTUS vacancy during a lame duck session, after the American people have voted for new leadership, is undemocratic and a clear violation of the public trust in elected officials,” Nadler tweeted.
  • As a member of the House of Representatives, Nadler does not have the ability to vote on Supreme Court nominees, but as a leading voice on judicial matters on Capitol Hill, his voice holds immense sway.
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On Saturday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler voiced support for adding new justices to the US Supreme Court if Senate Republicans fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a lame duck session, which would occur after the November election but before new members arrive in January.

Nadler tweeted, “If Sen. McConnell and @SenateGOP were to force through a nominee during the lame duck session—before a new Senate and President can take office—then the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court.”

As a member of the House of Representatives, Nadler does not have the ability to vote on Supreme Court nominees, but as a leading voice on judicial matters on Capitol Hill, his voice holds immense sway.

Nadler, a New York Democrat, is not generally known for pushing for dramatic institutional changes. He was elected to the House in 1992 and has been chairman of the Judiciary Committee since 2019.

In the hypothetical scenario Nadler suggested, Joe Biden could potentially be elected to the presidency, along with an incoming Democratic-controlled Senate set to take over in January; a lame duck Republican-controlled Senate could push through a conservative nominee in November or December anyway.

Another complication: Mark Kelly, the Democratic nominee for the Arizona Senate seat currently held by Republican Martha McSally, could be sworn in by late November if he wins the race, which could tank Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fill Ginsburg’s seat. Kelly and McSally are running in a special election for the seat held by the late Sen. John McCain.

Nadler then tweeted, “Filling the SCOTUS vacancy during a lame duck session, after the American people have voted for new leadership, is undemocratic and a clear violation of the public trust in elected officials. Congress would have to act and expanding the court would be the right place to start.”

Ginsburg, who died on Friday at the age of 87, was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton and was a pillar of the court’s liberal bloc for 27 years. If Senate Republicans were able to confirm a successor, the court would have six justices appointed by Republican presidents and three appointed by Democratic presidents.

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