Democrats back off threats of court-packing, axing filibuster: Report

Court-packing? Who said anything about court-packing?

The Democrats are backing down from some of their threats in the wake of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, insisting now that they have no plans to expand the Supreme Court or end the filibuster in response to President Donald Trump naming a nominee to replace the late justice, the Washington Examiner reports.

“Nothing is off the table”

Warning that “nothing is off the table,” Democrats have threatened to enlarge the court and end the filibuster if Republicans disrespect Ginsburg’s “dying wish” by moving to confirm a new justice before 2021, the Examiner notes.

But Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) called the notion that Democrats want to do either of those things a “heck of an assumption” — even as Democrats blurt out their direct intention to do those things.

“Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) tweeted hours after Ginsburg’s death Friday, according to the Washington Examiner.

However, it seems that Democrats are concerned that some in their caucus are being a bit too forward. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) dismissed the notion of ending the filibuster, which was recently endorsed by no less than Barack Obama.

“I don’t believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose. It is not often used. It’s often less used now than when I first came. And I think it’s part of the Senate that differentiates itself,” Feinstein said, as the Examiner reported.

Feinstein, Biden won’t commit

But Feinstein would not commit on court-packing. “Ask me when we win the majority,” she said.

Both ideas have been discussed with serious interest by Democrats for some time, long before Ginsburg’s death, and they have become more acute threats with a presidential election nearing and the possibility growing more distinct that President Trump may tilt the Supreme Court to the right for generations.

For his part, Joe Biden has equivocated on whether he would add more justices to the Supreme Court.

“It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question: Because it will shift all the focus. That’s what he wants,” Biden said Monday, referring to Trump, according to Fox News. “He never wants to talk about the issue at hand. He always tries to change the subject.”

Suffice to say that Democrats are keeping things nice and open-ended.

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