Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led the Squad in calling for Democrats to expand the Supreme Court immediately after Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed by the Senate.
Barrett’s addition to the country’s highest court gives Conservatives a strong 6-3 majority for the foreseeable future, which liberals have warned could have dire consequences for the future of LGBT+ rights among many other human rights issues.
Democrats “won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come”, boasted Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell after the vote – but AOC had other ideas.
“Expand the court,” tweeted the congresswoman, rising to McConnell’s challenge.
“Republicans do this because they don’t believe Dems have the stones to play hardball like they do. And for a long time they’ve been correct. But do not let them bully the public into thinking their bulldozing is normal but a response isn’t. There is a legal process for expansion.”
Following her lead was the rest of the Squad – Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – the progressive congresswomen of colour elected in the 2018 mid-terms.
“Remember that Republicans have lost six of the last seven popular votes, but have appointed six of the last nine justices,” Omar added. “By expanding the court we fix this broken system and have the court better represent the values of the American people.”
Without missing a beat, Pressley tweeted a photo of herself with the words: “We reject this injustice. We will fight for our rights. We will legislate our values.”
Tlaib declared: “We are going to take back the White House [and] Senate next week with a resounding mandate from the people to fight back against Trump’s illegitimately stacked judiciary.
“We must expand the court if we’re serious about the transformational change the people are crying out for.”
The measures suggested by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren’t unprecedented: expanding the court to undercut an existing majority is a tactic the GOP has already has employed in recent years with state supreme courts.
While Biden has said he doesn’t support court-packing, just before the Senate’s vote on Monday he floated the possibility that he could move justices to other courts.
“There is some literature among constitutional scholars about the possibility of going from one court to another court, not just always staying the whole time in the Supreme Court but I have made no judgement,” Biden said at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.
He assured voters that “a group of serious constitutional scholars have a number of ideas how we should proceed from this point on”.