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Hatch: 'Court-Packing' SCOTUS Could Undermine Religious Liberty

Hatch: 'Court-Packing' SCOTUS Could Undermine Religious Liberty

Former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 April 2019 04:14 PM

Adding seats to the U.S. Supreme Court to expand its current nine members is an “extreme” idea that could undermine religious liberty, former Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch warned Wednesday.

In an opinion piece for the Deseret News, Hatch, who retired from the Senate earlier this year after more than four decades, argued that adding seats to the nation’s high court could have “consequences” that would be “catastrophic and irreversible.”

“The court would no longer serve as a shield against oppression but as a political weapon in the hands of an angry majority,” he wrote.

“When this proposal was last en vogue in the 1930s, Democratic Sen. Burton Wheeler of Montana cautioned that it would effectively ‘extinguish [our] right of liberty, of speech, of thought, of action and of religion,’” he wrote.

Hatch noted the Supreme Court has had a fixed number of nine justices since 1869 “and for good reason; it constrains the administration in power — be it Republican or Democrat — from installing an unspecified number of judges to dramatically shift the ideological balance of our courts.”

Hatch called “court packing” an idea “that could undermine the most fundamental freedom.”

“I have spent a lifetime defending religious liberty in the public square. And so, when I see extreme ideas like court-packing seeping into the mainstream — ideas that could undermine this most fundamental freedom — I feel compelled to raise a warning,” he wrote. 

Several Democratic presidential contenders — including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke — suggested adding seats to the high court to counter President Donald Trump’s conservative appointments, The Hill noted.

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Adding seats to the U.S. Supreme Court to expand its current nine members is an "extreme" idea that could undermine religious liberty, former Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch warned Wednesday.
orrin hatch, scotus, supreme court, justices, religious
265
2019-14-10
Wednesday, 10 April 2019 04:14 PM
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